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  #1  
Old 06-26-2015, 06:39 PM
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Default The John D Wagner Hobby Letters - 1930s on...

This thread will be devoted to letters to John Wagner concerning his collecting endeavors. It's not often we see correspondence from the 1930s concerning baseball card collecting..Please remember many of these will pre-date the original American Card Catalog, The United States Card Collectors Catalog, put out in 1939. Many if not most of these letters were sent to him from ads he put in various collector magazines including one of the most well known ones, Hobbies Magazine. Enjoy...
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937a.jpg (75.5 KB, 1299 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937b.jpg (76.8 KB, 1287 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937c.jpg (74.9 KB, 1291 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937env.jpg (69.3 KB, 1292 views)
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Old 06-26-2015, 06:57 PM
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Leon, thanks for posting the J.D. Wagner material
looking forward to each one, they are hobby treasures for sure.
I'm a half hour from Harrisburg, I might look up his house the next time I'm in the area
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:42 AM
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going back to a few from 1936....where were you 79 yrs ago?
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Old 06-27-2015, 08:18 PM
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One from 1936 with a bit more content.....these will generally go in chronological order by year.....(and are these scans big enough to easily read?)
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter1936may.jpg (76.0 KB, 1212 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1936mayb.jpg (75.2 KB, 1206 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1936mayenv.jpg (28.2 KB, 1199 views)
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Old 06-29-2015, 09:13 AM
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It is crazy to think that our cards, like the ones mentioned in the letters, are now worth 1000x to 100,000's times more than what this gentleman sold them for in the 1930's (minus inflation, but still...!)

Brian
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:33 PM
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Jan, 24th, Feb. 3rd & Feb. 12th, 1937 - These two Feb. letters were in one envelope. The envelope was sealed original and never opened when I got it. I was hoping there was a Wags on approval or something, but alas, nothing. Still interesting that these never got read until today.

ps..and the January 1937 letter is newly added
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937jan4.jpg (77.6 KB, 1036 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937jan24b.jpg (77.1 KB, 1036 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937jan24c.jpg (76.1 KB, 1033 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937feb2 .jpg (75.0 KB, 1035 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937feb2b.jpg (76.9 KB, 1031 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937feb12.jpg (75.1 KB, 1027 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937feb12b.jpg (75.4 KB, 1024 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937feb12env.jpg (41.3 KB, 1024 views)
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:44 AM
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He saw John's name in the Card Collectors Bulletin #1. - Mar 7, 1937...he had 2000 T cards....
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:48 AM
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April 21, 1937. I like how they always talk of sending hundreds...200, 300, 500 etc... of cards at a time. And a lot were characterized as only being small or large, baseball or not..
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937april21.jpg (74.4 KB, 1041 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937april21b.jpg (77.6 KB, 1033 views)
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:05 AM
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Another note from Golden to John Wagner, dated April 27, 1937 (2 yrs before the first iteration of the ACC)...

Pre-internet and pre catalog it doesn't seem like there were a ton of collectors or at least ones that JR Burdick had on his list.

"While we know of some 25 card collectors, according to Mr. Burdick's bulletin..." - Edward Golden

.
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File Type: jpg burdickletter1937april1.jpg (76.0 KB, 998 views)
File Type: jpg burdickletter1937april2.jpg (76.1 KB, 999 views)
File Type: jpg burdickletter1937aprilenv..jpg (42.4 KB, 1001 views)
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Old 09-30-2015, 10:45 AM
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Default Sporting News: You might check with Burke for photos....

These hobby correspondence are some of the neatest items to me. So scarce and relevent (historically speaking)..

Noyes doesn't like T206 either, before they were given that ACC number (or any number).....
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937june26c.jpg (78.3 KB, 938 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937july27c.jpg (77.6 KB, 942 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter1937july27b.jpg (75.0 KB, 941 views)
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Old 09-30-2015, 11:24 AM
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What a pleasure, Leon. You read the cordial correspondence of these old gents and then look at that "BST screw over" fustercluck and you wonder where it all went wrong.
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Old 09-30-2015, 01:23 PM
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He said maybe 25 collectors . They could have had a few cards between them .
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Old 09-30-2015, 02:40 PM
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"I agree that 50 cents is much too steep for any one card - you'll hear from me if I ever find Anson"

Imagine his reaction to Anson's price tag today!

Thanks for sharing these Leon. Very neat to read!
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:56 AM
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1937 November. An excel spreadsheet in it's heyday!!




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Old 10-09-2015, 11:57 AM
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Default Snodgrass Letter & Signed T206

I've posted this grouping a few times, but it seems most appropriate in this thread. Not only was Wagner a great card collector, but he was an enterprising signed T206 collector, way ahead of his time!





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Old 10-31-2015, 02:40 PM
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It's New Years Eve 1937 and time to write a hobby letter!!

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Old 11-03-2015, 11:08 AM
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Royce (hi Royce) asked about card collecting documentaries. While not on video or online anywhere these letters give a nice glimpse of the infancy of organized card collecting in the US.






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Old 11-13-2015, 11:01 AM
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Default More early hobby letters

A few more from 1938....."They aren't in very good condition. Looked as though they had been flipped....."



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Old 11-13-2015, 12:45 PM
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Leon, many thanks, bro, for your painstaking time and trouble to load up these priceless card hobby artifacts from the past. Very interesting.

---Brian Powell
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Old 11-14-2015, 12:59 PM
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I picked up this envelope that once contained correspondence from Tommy Leach to John D.Wagner. Unfortunately, it does not have it's original contents.
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Old 11-15-2015, 02:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian1961 View Post
Leon, many thanks, bro, for your painstaking time and trouble to load up these priceless card hobby artifacts from the past. Very interesting.

---Brian Powell
You are welcome!! And thanks for posting the envelope, Marshall. It is scarce in itself. Here are some more...(I will try to make the scans larger larger later when Yahoo webhosting comes back up)
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File Type: jpg wagnerletterjuly1938.jpg (77.3 KB, 532 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter22july1938.jpg (75.4 KB, 537 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletteraugust1938.jpg (76.6 KB, 534 views)
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Old 11-17-2015, 01:08 PM
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Some more letters received from ads placed in Hobbies Magazine in the mid to later 1930s....





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Old 11-17-2015, 03:31 PM
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Would love to find the letter that was in this envelope.
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Old 11-23-2015, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksfarmboy View Post
Would love to find the letter that was in this envelope.
That is a neat one for sure and would love to see what Clarke wrote. Here are a few more. These letters make it seem casual to be able to see this correspondence but in my years I haven't seen a lot of it this early. Happy reading...
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File Type: jpg wagnerletter30oct1938.jpg (77.7 KB, 475 views)
File Type: jpg wagnerletter2dec1938.jpg (75.6 KB, 477 views)
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:59 AM
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The first letter is in quite the collecting spirit.

And after those 2 pages a few more early hobby letters with the first letter being the recommendation to send the second one.




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Old 12-03-2015, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksfarmboy View Post
Would love to find the letter that was in this envelope.
Wonder if it had this card inside it!

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Old 12-03-2015, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T206Collector View Post
Wonder if it had this card inside it!

That would be cool!😃
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Old 01-21-2016, 11:57 AM
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Default another 1939 letter

Here is another letter to Wagner from 1939. There are quite a few in this thread but I believe these kind of (very early) hobby letters are very, very rare.

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Old 01-21-2016, 03:28 PM
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Thanks for posting these Leon. They are interesting. I loved this quote. I never yet saw a hobbyless person that was worth an obstruction in a stream. Classic stuff.
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:31 PM
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Resurrected with another letter to early collector, John Wagner. It reminds me of our BST but with days, weeks or months in between feedback.

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Old 04-17-2016, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leon View Post
Resurrected with another letter to early collector, John Wagner. It reminds me of our BST but with days, weeks or months in between feedback.

The writer of this letter, James N. Colkitt, died four years letter, thus prompting J. R. Burdick to hold the first-ever card auction in the pages of Card Collector's Bulletin in October 1943, in which an anonymous collector bought Colkitt's entire collection for over $400. Lionel Carter described all this almost exactly 30 years after the letter in the August 1, 1969 CCB, which I posted here:

http://www.net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=218786

Leon, you mentioned in the comments to that post that several of the people Carter mentioned make appearances in the Wagner hobby letters, and here is a perfect example.
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Old 04-18-2016, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trdcrdkid View Post
The writer of this letter, James N. Colkitt, died four years letter, thus prompting J. R. Burdick to hold the first-ever card auction in the pages of Card Collector's Bulletin in October 1943, in which an anonymous collector bought Colkitt's entire collection for over $400. Lionel Carter described all this almost exactly 30 years after the letter in the August 1, 1969 CCB, which I posted here: ....


Leon, you mentioned in the comments to that post that several of the people Carter mentioned make appearances in the Wagner hobby letters, and here is a perfect example.
That is very cool. If we think our collecting world is sort of small now, back then it was probably 10000x smaller.
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Old 04-18-2016, 10:50 AM
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Default enjoy this kind of thing so much

I can read it a second time! Thanks.
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Old 04-18-2016, 06:51 PM
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From post #21
Paraphrasing...
"Trouble with Maytag Washing Machine and the city is under martial law"

1958 is sometimes referred to as being part of the good old days!
Imagine those conditions...dirty clothes and oppressive rules?

Yikes

At least the baseball cards were cheap...
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:36 PM
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Default March 1939

Another one but with a bit difficult to read handwriting, probably still better than I could do today



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Old 06-12-2016, 08:50 PM
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Here's my best shot at a transcription:

Austin, Texas
3-27-39

Mr. Wagner

Yours of March 20th came while I was out of town. I am glad to hear from you again. You did not mention that book of yours I still have so I am inclosing my check for $5.00 for it, as I figure you are weaned away from it by now. If this check sticks to your fingers, then I'll know everything is agreeable.

Yes I need several of the Generals and inclose a list of them I need. Please send me all you can.

Now I can use some duplicates too as I have located a couple of fellows who will swap with me for some they need. Also I have had an enquiry for cigarette pictures such as those you sent me on approval - which I kept for several weeks then returned to you. Now just bundle up a lot of stuff and send it on to me - all you want to send. I will immediately pay you for the booklets I need but please let me have the other items you may send - even duplicate booklets of Generals or the Poor Boy or Actor series or what ever title they're known by. (Poor boys who became famous - booklets!) You pick each item or set of items as you did before, and if you can get that party to turn loose the bunch of 25 you spoke of - let me know what these will cost and I'll see if I can handle 'em. I am still pepped up about these little booklets. Send me another bundle of all items you can send. The cards or pictures - I wish you'd give me at least 30 days time on, in order to have time for me to find out if my party can use any of it. I personally am not warmed up to the pictures as far.

I like your point of view in regards to parties who are ignorant of real values, yet imagine some scandalous prices are paid, yet some parties would not give 1/20 of what they ask. But no use fooling with such birds, any way; it takes some of the kick out of collecting. All collectors like to get what they think is a bargain - that's the fun of it.

I am always glad to hear from you and am happy to know you are thinking of me. What else do you have? I run into lots of collectors traveling around Texas: such as book collectors, stamp collectors, arrow head collectors, guns, glass in fact the whole run of 'em. Speaking of stamps - right now a fellow wrote me to get him some #33 U.S. 3c unperforate or covers. Got any?

Sincerely,
Frank Caldwell
108 East 17th
Austin, Texas

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Old 07-04-2016, 01:11 PM
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Thanks David!!

a few more..




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Old 08-07-2016, 11:40 AM
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Time for a few more. And my suspicion is that the anonymous collector in Syracuse was probably Ole Jefferson Burdick himself.







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Old 08-07-2016, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
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And my suspicion is that the anonymous collector in Syracuse was probably Ole Jefferson Burdick himself.
I'd bet money on it.......
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:00 PM
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Some more...





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Old 11-01-2016, 06:30 AM
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I thought the reference to T210 Orange borders was interesting. I guess they have always been collected that way and not only in our crazy minutiae ways of collecting today.
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Old 11-01-2016, 10:35 AM
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Leon, I for one love these letters. Keep 'em coming! The writer of this last one, Bob Wilson, was one of the seven attendees at the gathering of collectors at Lionel Carter's house 11 years later in 1958, which I wrote about here: http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=227505
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Old 11-04-2016, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trdcrdkid View Post
Leon, I for one love these letters. Keep 'em coming! The writer of this last one, Bob Wilson, was one of the seven attendees at the gathering of collectors at Lionel Carter's house 11 years later in 1958, which I wrote about here: http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=227505
It was a rather small collecting world back then. The internet has made it exponentially larger. Interestingly there are still some who write letters by snail mail in the hobby. And every now and then I get some obscure small auction copied-pages catalog.
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Old 11-24-2016, 11:46 AM
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There are approx. 3-5 more letters after this one which were ascertained in the initial group of letters. This one probably references a few collectors but is more military and war related. Still some interesting reading...



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Old 12-16-2016, 12:28 PM
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These are the last of the original letters in, what looks to be, some of John Wagners estate letters. There are some letters between he and Charles Bray which I will try to post in the future. They date from 1944-1947 (still quite early in the way of hobby material).








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Old 12-16-2016, 02:33 PM
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Thanks as always for posting these, Leon. I see that the last letter is from Howard Leheup. I posted Lionel Carter's obituary of him here: http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=221758

And as for the second to last letter, I have the 1959 Sport Fan Who's Who (two copies of it, actually), and I think I remember seeing John Wagner in it, but I'll have to check later to be sure. I posted the entire 1958 Who's Who here:
http://net54baseball.com/showthread.php?t=222091
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:28 AM
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Here are some letters from Charles Bray to Wagner.....there will be some more to follow too...






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Old 05-23-2017, 01:17 PM
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another Charles Bray to John Wagner letter....**It is read from top right to bottom and back up to top left....


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Old 08-10-2019, 02:20 PM
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Seeing some stuff about the old hobby made me think of this thread.
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Old 08-10-2019, 03:31 PM
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He had 913 Goodwin photo cards. Whew!
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