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.
1886 Royal Farm Mower
1888 Chocolat Poulain
1890s Romanet & Cie.
1890s Chocolat Guerin-Boutron “Benefactors of Humanity”
1897 Suchard “Inventors”
c1900 Sodex “The Astronomers (Series B) Newton with Hammerfest Column and Pulkovo Observatory
c1900 Bensdorp Cacao #101 of 104 NEW
1900 Player’s Cigarettes “Famous Authors and Poets”
1900 Liepig “Inventors II”
1901 Ogden’s Guinea Gold #119
c1901 Aecht Franck “Famous Scholars”
1903 Liepig “Monuments to Famous Scientists”
1906 Liebig “Astronomers I”
1908 Stollwerck Helden (Germany)
1912 Chairman Cigarettes #46
1923 Nicolas Sarony “Celebrities and Their Autographs” #29 (wide)
1923 Nicolas Sarony “Celebrities and Their Autographs” #29 (narrow) NEW
1924 Ogden’s Cigarettes “Leaders of Men” #35 of 50
1926 Carreras “Old Staffordshire Figures” #5 of 24
1933 Figures of World History #89
c1930 Yramos Dresden #91
1932 Chocolat Pupier “L’Angleterre” (with William Shakespeare)
1933 Haus Bergmann
1934 Typhoo Tea “Homes of Famous Men”
1935 Carreras “Celebrities of British History” #17 of 50
1965 Fine Fare Specialty Tea #34 (Series Two) – The Telescope
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.
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 bulk of my Hank Aaron collecting is confined to items from Hank’s playing days. However, I’ve made an exception for bobbleheads. What follows is what I believe to be a complete collection of Hank Aaron bobbleheads.
As a NEW feature, I’ve added a rating for how easy or difficult it is to find each bobblehead. Figures in parentheses correspond to numbers available and sold (last 90 days) on eBay as of August 25, 2017.
2002 Milwaukee Brewers/Wisconsin Woodchucks
Issue date: July 27, 2002 (Wisconsin Woodchucks), August 11, 2002 (Milwaukee Brewers)
Production: 10,500 (500 with Woodchucks and 10,000 with Brewers)
Sponsors: Pick ‘n Save, Pepsi
Uniform: Milwaukee Brewers home #44
Pose: Standing with bat on shoulder
Markings: 755 on bat, name on front of base, sponsors on back of base, various markings and stickers on bottom
Other notes: Also packaged with Ben Sheets and Richie Sexson as part of a mail-in offer by Pepsi.
Note: There were also SGA statues distributed by the Atlanta Braves on April 12, 2007 (Turner Field) and August 18, 2017 (Sun Trust Park). Each statue matched the Hank Aaron statue at the stadium. These giveaways are sometimes included in various lists of bobbleheads.
OTHER AUTHORIZED RELEASES
1975 Milwaukee Brewers
Issue date: 1975 (often listed as 1974; however, Aaron did not become a Brewer until November 2, 1974, so this seems dubious)
Distribution: Milwaukee County Stadium
Manufacturer: Sports Specialty Corporation
Uniform: Milwaukee Brewers home #44
Pose: Standing with ball in right hand
Markings: signature on front of base
Other notes: The side of the box includes directions for ordering more “dolls” by writing to Milwaukee Brewer Promotions via Milwaukee County Stadium
Other notes: Distribution was mainly in the South; production is believed to be about one-third that of other “Bobble Dobbles” from that same year. A variation featuring a Hall of Fame plaque was distributed two years later by the Hank Aaron Automotive Group.
Distribution: Available to “A List” season ticket holders only, though the logistics of notification/distribution were something of a cluster
Uniform: Milwaukee Braves home uniform #5
Pose: Standing, leaning on bat
Markings: Name on front of base, “1954 Rookie” on back of base
Other notes: Braves A-list members voted among various Braves all-time greats (Hank Aaron, Phil Niekro, Chipper Jones, Warren Spahn, Dale Murphy); A-list “memory points” used to purchase bobblehead
Availability: Moderate at the moment; however, I suspect availability will be short-lived.
Price estimate: $80-90 for NIB
In addition to the official releases above, which carry the approval of Major League Baseball, Hank Aaron, or some other authorized entity, private collectors, artists, and entrepreneurs have contributed to the Hank Aaron bobble universe by creating or customizing bobbleheads like the ones below. If you have a custom Hank Aaron you’d like to show off by adding it to this page, please send me an email along with a pic.
Indy Clowns Custom
Cat Man 755 HR
Cat Man 1957 WS
Indianapolis Clowns custom – This custom bobblehead portrays Hank Aaron on his first professional team, the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, where he played shortstop and batted cleanup in 1952. Look closely and you’ll notice that it is made from the 2013 Atlanta Braves SGA Hank Aaron. What a great paint job!
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. UPDATE: The site appears to have been taken down.
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 the 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 during shipping.
Cat Man 1957 WS – Limited release of unknown (to me) size. See notes above.
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. See this page for the best information on the Web.
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–
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.
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.
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.