Card of the Day: 1910 Tip Top Vin Campbell

Today’s Card of the Day represents our third visit to the 1910 Tip Top Bread set. That was a set of 25 cards that featured the Pittsburgh Pirates, including front office people and Forbes Field. The only card that wasn’t related to the Pirates in the set is the Tip Top Bread mascot card.

This set celebrated the 1909 World Series champs, which makes today’s card interesting. Vin Campbell didn’t play for the 1909 Pirates, but he was technically part of the team, as they purchased his contract mid-season, then let him stay with his minor league team to finish the season. Almost all of the cards in the set have the same look, which I will explain after you see the front picture. So let’s get into the card of young outfielder Vin Campbell.

Here’s the front of the card

This isn’t a great example of this card, but it’s the only one on Ebay within the last three months, so I wanted to use that to go with the pricing section below. The coloring/printing is off a bit on the card, making it look like Campbell had a rough night before photo day. In reality, there was no photo day, and the card manufacturers just used the same uniform for all of the players, then threw the head on the body. The word “Pittsburgh” was not written across the front at this time. There was no uniform that looked like this, even without the word Pittsburgh, it still doesn’t match up to a team uniform. So they took some creative liberties here.

Many of these cards look like the players, but the Campbell one might be the worst player representation in the artwork. Here’s an actual photo on a “card” from the same time, so you can see the difference.

Campbell has another Pirates card from the M116 Sporting Life set, which is based off of this photo, and they did a great job with the artwork in that set. There were no examples of it up on Ebay, so I went with the Tip Top card. As a side note for that card just above, you can see he’s listed as being with Boston here, meaning this card put out in 1913 by Colgan’s, is using an old photo from his Pirates days.

Here’s the back of the card:

The backs of these cards are just a checklist for the set, as well as an ad for the Tip Top Bread company. All you needed was 50 labels from their products to receive the entire set of cards. That ended up being quite a bargain, though you would have needed to live quite a long time for that to actually pay off. These cards have been expensive since I started collecting, but they’re not getting any cheaper, so now is probably the best time there has even been to sell them. Of course, six months from now might be even better, who knows.

This particular card is currently for sale on Ebay for $599 or best offer. It is graded 1.5 by SGC. A total of 37 cards from the set are currently on Ebay, with the cheapest one being $300 for either a Mike Simon or William Locke, who was the team secretary, a job in 1909 that was heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the team. As you can see by those prices, it’s an expensive set to put together. Especially when you factor in Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke and Barney Dreyfuss. The completed listings over the last three months show five sales, all over $300, so not only are they expensive, but that number shows you how rare they are.