It's a Wonderful Sporting Life: The 1910-11 M116 Collection

Including Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson!
  • December 29, 2017

1910-11 M116 Ty CobbYou Can't Always Get What You Want

There are some collections that we want to buy, but we just cannot reach agreement with the seller on them.  Whether it be that the owner thinks it is worth more or they just have a certain price that they want for it regardless of market value, we cannot always have a meeting of the minds.  But sometimes, when we're not able to buy what we want, we may be able to reach agreement on another item or another portion of the collection.

A collection that we recently purchased was originally referred to us with the focus being a complete 1952 Topps Baseball Set.  The set, for obvious reasons, was the man's pride and joy and we were unfortunately unable to reach agreement on the valuation and an acceptable purchase price for the set.  We discussed other portions of the gentleman's collection that he might less emotionally invested in and he mentioned a 1910-11 M116 Sporting Life Baseball card collection that he had acquired decades ago. Now, M116's may not strike the same chord with collectors and hobbyists as a T206 or Cracker Jack set, but Scott and I are quite familiar with this often overlooked issue, having been responsible for one of the great, high grade, tobacco era finds of the first decade of the 21st century; "The Philly Find."


Scrap Books Were Once a Standard

Collecting, in some form, has been going on for longer than any of us have been around.  In previous generations, collectors would affix their cards into scrapbooks with adhesive, tape, staples or with slits for inserting the corners of the cards.  We've come across many collections that were either still in scrapbooks or had been removed from them.  Sometimes, the cards were removed quite well and other times, not so well at all.  In fact, most of the cards from one of our most famous collections, the "Fairy Godmother Collection," were removed from a scrapbook.


Some Serious Star Power

The gentleman's M116 collection appeared to have been stored in an album at one point as there was staining and damage from adhesives. While not a complete set and absent the tougher Blue Backgrounds, the collection was significant in the inclusion major stars like: Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, and Christy Mathewson. Despite the rough appearance from their residency in the scrapbook, there was still some significant value in the collection.  And they were worth far more than when the pennies on the dollar that they were purchased more than 40 years ago.

The owner has been collecting for more than 6 decades, going back before the days of collector's conventions that would eventually spring up in places like the Armory in New York in the early 1970's and the Washington Motor Lodge outside of Philadelphia a little later.

Many people would hesitate seeing cards in this condition and quite a few would think that they weren't worth much because of the damage, but they would be wrong.  Even in the lesser condition, the Wagner is worth a couple of thousand dollars while the Cobb and the Mathewson are still worth several hundreds of dollars each.


1910-11 M116 Honus Wagner 1910-11 M116 Ty Cobb 1910-11 Maa6 Mathewson


Issued in Just 24 Weeks

Based on Carl Horner's famed photographic portraits, The Sporting Life magazine included weekly advertisements throughout the season for a redemption program. With each week's publication, a new 12 card series of M116 Sporting Life Baseball Cards were made available through the publication by submitting the entry form and 4 cents in postage stamps (that's less than a nickel) and the submitter would receive the 12 cards in the series in a small envelope with a printed series checklist.  After the season, collectors could even submit an entry for the series of their choice!


M116 Submission Form


To put this into perspective, had you sent in for each of the 24 Series, it would have cost you less than $1.00 in total (24 x $0.04 = $0.96). And what would those cards be worth today? In NM/MT to MINT condition, it would not be surpising if the $1.00 investment would now be worth as much as ONE MILLION DOLLARS!  Not a bad return for a summer mailing in postage stamps!

The entire promotion lasted for 24 weeks, featuring a total of 288 different cards being issued. However, because of team and color variations, including the very popular Blue Background, there are 326 variations recognized for the Master Set, but taking into account the differing advertising backs, there are closer to 400 total cards in the "true" Master Set.

Schedule an Appointment to Meet Just Collect at a Show Near You

Just Collect travels to several shows on a regular basis. In the New York area, we often attend the White Plains Show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. If you're in the New England area, you can make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists when we're in the area for the Shriner's Show at the Aleppo Auditorium in Wilmington, MA. We also visit the Metro-DC area when we attend the CSA Show in Chantilly, VA. If you're in the South Jersey or Delaware area, you can also schedule appointments while we're in the Philadelphia area when we do The Philly Show in Valley Forge, PA.

We would love to meet with you and schedule a private appointment to assess and value your collection while we are in your area, so please check out our show and travel schedule to see when Just Collect will be in your area!


Our Buying Philosophy

We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the past decade. Although we are known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, also!

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and soul into building their collection. So when you're ready to sell, Just Collect understands the feelings that you're going through and we will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Won't They Be Worth More if I Grade Them Myself

We discuss all of the selling options with everyone that we meet with. In most cases, selling the collection on their own will put the most money on the bottom line, but it will also take an large commitment of time and energy and one that most are not ready or able to undertake. Another misconception is that grading the collection will return more money. When I hear people say, "You're just going to grade them and get ten times the money," I almost cringe. Grading a collection can be a money losing proposition, especially if you don't know what you're doing. And most times, we grade very few, if any cards, from average collections that we buy.

We value a collection based upon the condition and the value. If a card is worth $100 in a PSA 7 NM, we're going to value it at $100 whether it is ungraded or graded. You can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars grading your cards, but we're still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.


We Are Always Buying

Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss your collection and get our industry leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace.

Don't hesitate to check out our Google Reviews left by many of the great people that have considered selling collections to Just Collect.


The "It's A Wonderful Sporting Life: The 1910-11 M116 Collection" Video:


Recent Posts

Vintage Collection Discovered w/ 1915 Cracker Jack Shoeless Joe Jackson

Just Collect Will Be Buying and Selling Collections at The Philly Show

Johnny Unitas Rookie Card Highlights Vintage Football Card Collection