Learning the Non-Sport Side of Cards

If you believe there are a lot of sports cards in existence, you’d definitely be right. The Standard Cards of Baseball Cards is proof of that, and that huge tome covers just one sport.

However, if you were to turn your attention to non-sports cards, it opens a whole new world of collectibles that I would bet many people aren’t aware of – and they’re valuable, too.

That’s one of the joys of working with Collect.com Auctions – you get to see some of the great items that will be available to bidders. And when it comes to non-sports material, we’ve been getting some great stuff.

It started with the debut Collect.com auction that hosted a complete set of “Twilight Zone” autographs from Rittenhouse Archives. The set included autographs from William Shatner, Ron Howard, Jimmy Stewart, Mickey Rooney and dozens of other stars that made appearances on the popular sci-fi series. The resulting $11,700 final bid told me there’s more to this world than traditional sports cards.

The upcoming Collect.com auction, slated to start Aug. 10 and end Aug. 27, features some more excellent sets of non-sports cards, ranging from The Best of the Wild Wild West to Parkhurst Movie Stars, Parade of Flags and something call Jiggley’s.

The best part of these cards is finding out their background and how collectors were able to secure them in the first place. Some of the more modern issues, like The Best of the Wild Wild West set were issued in the last 10 years with complete checklists so you could follow your progress. Others from the 1950s were distributed via retail outlets just like standard trading cards. However, not all of the cards were always issued mainstream, and that’s where collectors really sink their teeth into the hunt.

For instance, the upcoming auction will include two examples of original artwork for the Who-Z-At Star cards from the 1950s. The cards themselves are rather scarce, but getting the original artwork is even more difficult.

Plus, these were examples of art for cards that were never issued. One wasn’t issued because the actor, Sal Mineo, insisted on having his shirt off for the photo and Topps thought that might be pushing too many boundaries. Gotta love the differences in what’s acceptable between eras.
The sets of Jiggley’s trading cards consigned to the auction had a Western, circus and military theme. The idea behind the cards was to cut out the stencil sections so the “figures” could move courtesy of the tabs found on each side of the card. The caricatures were amusing, but I would guess these got old for kids. Plus, finding ones that are intact would be difficult because the point of the cards was to play with them as designed. The same scenario takes place with the baseball Stand-Ups.

However, my favorite of the bunch are the movie star cards because you could get all the living legends of screen and stage in one set. I don’t know about you, but I would have loved as a kid to be able to stare at my silver-screen heroes and learn about them and their characters on cards. It’s not unlike the fascination with sports cards, only it would have been harder to see these heroes in person. Cards bridged the gap.

I don’t think non-sports cards will ever reach the status of their sports brethren, but they definitely hold a place in Americana and in the collectibles market. And the money they can bring rivals any card set.
It’s a real treat to be able to learn about these sets and call it work. It makes me realize there is a lot I’m missing from this world, but I’m learning.

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