The Sir Isaac Newton Fan’s Guide to Vintage Trading Cards

 

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While there has long been an active market and community for trading cards of popular sports heroes, past and present, the collecting of non-sports trading cards holds a much lower profile. On the bright side, this keeps prices low; of course, it also makes it harder to know what’s out there and perhaps harder to know where to find it.

This page will focus on vintage trading cards of the Babe Ruth of Physics, Sir Isaac Newton. For current purposes, I will define vintage as older than me (1969). The organization of this page will be chronological in two sections: cards my son and I have, and cards we don’t have.

PART ONE – CARDS WE HAVE

The slideshow below highlights the vintage Newton cards in our collection so far. An inventory follows the slideshow.

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  1. 1886 Royal Farm Mower
  2. 1888 Chocolat Poulain 
  3. 1890s Romanet & Cie. 
  4. 1890s Chocolat Guerin-Boutron “Benefactors of Humanity”
  5. 1897 Suchard “Inventors”
  6. c1900 Sodex “The Astronomers (Series B) Newton with Hammerfest Column and Pulkovo Observatory
  7. c1900 Bensdorp Cacao #101 of 104 NEW
  8. 1900 Player’s Cigarettes “Famous Authors and Poets”
  9. 1900 Liepig “Inventors II”
  10. 1901 Ogden’s Guinea Gold #119
  11. c1901 Aecht Franck “Famous Scholars”
  12. 1903 Liepig “Monuments to Famous Scientists”
  13. 1906 Liebig “Astronomers I”
  14. 1908 Stollwerck Helden (Germany)
  15. 1912 Chairman Cigarettes #46
  16. 1923 Nicolas Sarony “Celebrities and Their Autographs” #29 (wide)
  17. 1923 Nicolas Sarony “Celebrities and Their Autographs” #29 (narrow) NEW
  18. 1924 Ogden’s Cigarettes “Leaders of Men” #35 of 50
  19. 1926 Carreras “Old Staffordshire Figures” #5 of 24
  20. 1933 Figures of World History #89
  21. c1930 Yramos Dresden #91
  22. 1932 Chocolat Pupier “L’Angleterre” (with William Shakespeare)
  23. 1933 Haus Bergmann
  24. 1934 Typhoo Tea “Homes of Famous Men”
  25. 1935 Carreras “Celebrities of British History” #17 of 50
  26. 1936 Godfrey Phillips “Famous Minors” #50 of 50
  27. 1937 Churchman’s Cigarettes “Howlers” (Gravity) #21
  28. 1946-1966 Stamina Trousers
  29. 1950 Carreras “Celebrities of British History” #8
  30. c1950 Editions Arnaud 
  31. 1952 Topps “Look ‘n See” #68 of 135
  32. 1960 Honigs Macaroni 
  33. 1965 Jacques Superchocolat
  34. 1965 Fine Fare Specialty Tea #4 of 25 (Series One) NEW

PART TWO – WISH LIST

This is only a partial list of other Newton cards. Please let me know if you have any additions or corrections, and especially if you are willing to sell/trade any of these cards.

PART THREE – BUYING ISAAC NEWTON CARDS

Nearly every card in our collection cost between $1-$8 via eBay. That said, I have seen some Newton cards priced in the $100 range. Because the market is largely inactive, I don’t have a good sense of whether these more expensive cards are significantly more scarce or whether I am simply seeing aberrant pricing from individual sellers. Either way, we are staying away from anything in double or triple digits.

NOTES

  • Great pictures of every Liebig card ever produced are available here, though it’s a little tricky to look for any specific set or person.
  • Some of the Newton cards I’ve listed include variations (e.g., regular vs. wide), which I haven’t always listed. One thing I recently learned is that the Liebig cards come in both German, French, and Italian varieties.
  • I haven’t shelled out the money, but the London Cigarette Card Company puts out an annual catalog that seems pretty comprehensive.
  • A fantastic site dedicated to cards of Ludwig van Beethoven is here.

The Hank Aaron Fan’s Guide to Bobbleheads

The bulk of my Hank Aaron collecting is confined to items produced during Hank’s playing days. However, I’ve made an exception for bobbleheads. What follows is what I believe to be a complete collection of collectible Hank Aaron bobbleheads.

STANDARD ISSUES

While one could argue that any stadium giveaway has a limited release, I am regarding all of the bobbles below as standard issues. The Limited Release section will be reserved only for those bobbles that are individually numbered (e.g., 44 out of 755). Note that I own all of the bobbles in this section and am happy to provide additional pictures and information on request.

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DESCRIPTIONS (LEFT TO RIGHT)

  • 1975 Milwaukee Brewers – I believe this was sold at Milwaukee County Stadium souvenir stands in 1975; however, I am unable to find any confirmation. Expect to pay $70 or more for NIB, depending on the condition of the box.
  • 2001 Milwaukee Braves – This was released by Bobble Dobbles in 2001. I believe it was sold directly to consumers rather than given out as a stadium promotion. Expect to pay $60 or more for NIB.
  • 2002 Milwaukee Brewers – This was a stadium giveaway by the Milwaukee Brewers on August 11, 2002. Expect to pay about $45 for NIB.
  • 2003 Greenville Braves – This was a stadium giveaway by the Greenville Braves (former South Carolina AA affiliate) on July 5, 2003. At a glance, the bobblehead looks similar to the 2003 Atlanta Braves release. However, this scarcer minor league release is easily distinguished by the “Advance Auto Parts” signage, the round base, and the dark jersey.
  • 2003 Atlanta Braves – This was a stadium giveaway by the Atlanta Braves on September 19, 2003. Expect to pay about $45 for NIB.
  • 2010 Milwaukee Brewers – This was a stadium giveaway by the Milwaukee Brewers on May 16, 2010. The sponsor was the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, which explains the hunk of cheese at Aaron’s feet. Expect to pay $25 for NIB.
  • 2012 Eau Claire Bears – Probably the toughest Hank Aaron bobblehead to find, this mini-bobble was a limited stadium giveaway by the minor league Eau Claire Express on June 14, 2012, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s minor league debut. Go here for more information on the promotion. Expect to pay $70-80 NIB, assuming you can find one!
  • 2013 Milwaukee Braves – This was a stadium giveaway by the Milwaukee Brewers on June 7, 2013, in commemoration of Hank Aaron’s 30/30 season 50 years earlier. There is a 44 on his bat, not representing his uniform number but rather his home run total that year; and likewise, there is a base with a 31 by his feet, reflecting his 31 steals. Expect to pay about $25-40 NIB.
  • 2014 Atlanta Braves – This was a stadium giveaway by the Atlanta Braves on April 10, 2014, in commemoration of the (approximately) 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron’s major league home run record. Expect to pay about $25-40 NIB.
  • 2016 Lakeshore Chinooks – This was a stadium giveaway for the first 1,000 fans by the Lakeshore Chinooks (Northwoods League) on June 4, 2016. Aaron was bobblehead 4 of 4 in the Chinooks “Outfield Wall” series. The dimensions of the team’s Kapco Park are 317 feet in left (Jim Gantner), 344 feet in left-center (Hank Aaron), 404 feet in center (Paul Molitor), and 319 feet in right (Robin Yount). Expect to pay about $25 NIB. (As a minor note, publicity photos showed the Aaron bobblehead with gray hair. However, the actual bobblehead is of a black-haired Aaron.)
  • 2016 Gwinnett Braves – This was a stadium giveaway for the first 2,500 fans by the Gwinnett Braves at their July 16, 2016, game. Expect to pay about $25-30 NIB.

LIMITED RELEASES

Bobbles in this section were part of individually numbered, limited releases. I don’t have original retail prices for any of the three, but I am assuming they were each around $90. Distribution numbers are included in the descriptions below the images.

DESCRIPTIONS (LEFT TO RIGHT)

  • bonds-big-head-427848094591994 Atlanta Braves – This was a 1994 limited release of 1,000 somehow-licensed Hank Aaron bobbleheads by Sports Accessories and Memorabilia (SAM) of Menlo Park, CA, as part of their “500 Home Run Club” collection. While I don’t expect complete physical likeness from any bobblehead other than Barry Bonds, I have to call out the SAM bobblehead as looking so unlike its subject that it’s completely uncollectible. At minimum, one should at least require that a Hank Aaron bobblehead look more like Hank Aaron than me! Still, assuming you can’t live without this one, expect to pay $90-120 for NIB. UPDATE: I wonder if the SAM I have pictured is an “error” bobblehead that was subsequently corrected to look at least a little more Hank-like. See photo below. (For what it’s worth, this lot of nine 500 HR Club HOFers garnered no bids in a 2010 Huggins and Scott auction.)
  • 2013 Atlanta Braves – This was a limited edition from a Forever Collectibles “Legends of the Diamond” release of 2,013 made. I believe distribution was via the Forever Collectibles website. Expect to pay $90 and up for NIB.
  • 2014 Atlanta Braves – Also from Forever Collectibles, this was the April 2014 Turner Field “Bobble of the Month” with a limited release of 360. My personal opinion is that the design is much too similar to the prior year’s issue, so I have been content to have only the 2013 release for now. Expect to pay $90 and up for NIB.

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UNAUTHORIZED BOBBLES

While the bobbleheads above were all “official” releases carrying the approval of Major League Baseball, Hank Aaron, or some other entity, the bobbles below are what I’ll euphemistically call labors of love.

  • Bobblehead City – This business allows you to create your own bobblehead, right down to player name, skin tone, uniform, and other variables–all for about $80 (painted) plus shipping. At one time, the site’s front page featured the Hank Aaron image above. However, it now features mainly “generic” players.
  • Cat Man 755 HR  – Limited release of 44 by Canadian bobble maker “Cat Man.” Despite (or possibly because of) the cartoonish, South Park (or maybe Davey and Goliath) style of his bobbleheads, Cat Man has something of a cult following among bobblehead collectors who even know his work exists. Registration/login is required, but you can learn more about Cat Man and his many bobbles at this site. As for prices, I have seen two of these “755 HR” bobbles sell on eBay, one at $90 and one at $100. NOTE: If you purchase a “Cat Man” of any player–not just Hank Aaron–note that they are VERY fragile. Anecdotal data suggest that nearly half are damaged in transit.
  • Cat Man 1957 WS  – Limited release of unknown (to me) size. See notes above.

MISCELLANEOUS

In the early 1960s (c. 1963-1965), generic team bobbleheads were produced for each team. Additionally, “black player” bobbles were produced for each team except the Athletics, Giants, Pirates, and Twins. None of these bobbles included names or uniform numbers; however, the two produced for the Braves (Milwaukee and Atlanta) could arguably be considered as part of a complete Hank Aaron bobblehead collection. A handful of notes on the topic–

  1. The Atlanta version (c. 1965) is identical to the Milwaukee version, except that the “M” hat decal the word “Milwaukee” on the base have been colored over.
  2. Both bobbles are very scarce, but the Milwaukee one is more so. In good condition, expect to pay around $500 for Atlanta and $1000 for Milwaukee.
  3. The “black player” bobbles are known to come in two variations: “realistic face” (includes eyebrows) and “traditional face” (smiling). Traditional is more rare. (I don’t know whether both variations exist for both Braves bobbles.