The 1914 T222 Fatima Wilcox Hotel Collection

Rare Baseball Card Collection Belonged to Same Family for Over 100 Years
  • March 25, 2021

Cards

A rare collection of century-old baseball cards hidden from the public eye since 1914 has surfaced from a family in Maryland.  A beautiful collection of 1914 T222 Fatima tobacco cards was saved from the family's old confectionary store inside their family hotel and kept in the family for over 100 years! Check out the 1914 T222 Fatima Wilcox Hotel Collection.

One hundred years ago there was a family-owned hotel located in Wilcox, PA. that included a confectionary store. Kevin, the great-grandson of the original owner, reached out to me at Just Collect with an incredible story. While running the store inside the hotel, Kevin's great-grandfather began to save the unwanted baseball cards customers removed from the cigarette packs that contained the cards back in 1914.  I couldn't be more excited to have purchased those very baseball cards saved from the family hotel.  Look at these incredible 1914 T222 Fatima tobacco cards!

1914 T222 FATIMA 

The Fatima cards are a tobacco set found in Fatima Turkish Blend Cigarettes.  When you think tobacco cards, your mind probably goes to the T206 set but a lot of tobacco companies got into the card game in the deadball era. Fatima cards really stand out because of their size and the real photos used on the cards. The T206 cards are only 3.7cm x 6.7cm in size.  Fatima cards are actually much bigger at 5.1cm x 10.2cm (2-1/2" x 4-1/2"). 

Set Information:

  • 52 baseball players 
  • 4 athletes 
  • 7 photoplay stars

Key Cards:

  • Walter Johnson
  • Grover Cleveland Alexander
  • Frank Chance
  • Rube Marquard 
  • Hughie Jennings
  • Miller Huggins

The set is impossible to find in top condition. Thin stock makes the cards vulnerable to creases, and there is that small task of keeping cards in good shape for over 100 years. How tough are these cards to find in good shape?  There is only ONE card graded by PSA as a 7 or better 👀. When any T222 Fatima cards become available, I'm ready to to take the call! 

THE 1914 T222 FATIMA WILCOX HOTEL COLLECTION

As impossible as it sounds, Kevin told me that his family collection of 39 T222 Fatima cards had been in the family's hands since the cards were produced in 1914! 

Kevin was 15 years old in 1976 when he lost his grandfather.  His grandfather left Kevin the card collection he obtained from his dad (Kevin's great-grandfather) who was also 15 when he obtained the 1914 T222 Fatima cards.  Kevin's great-grandfather owned Wilcox Hotel in Pennsylvania you can see in the incredible photo above, and ran the confectionary store in the front corner of hotel. In 1914, the Wilcox was the place to stay- the hotel had the only Jukebox and Pinball machine in town!  Back in those days people wanted the cigarettes and not the baseball cards in the packs, so they frequently just left the cards on the counter of the store Kevin's relatives were running. FREE because the customers simply wanted the tobacco? Not a bad deal!  Kevin's great-grandfather saved those T222 Fatima cards from the hotel store.

Kevin's grandfather eventually took over the operation of the confectionary store in the hotel and officially named it to Muggies, A nickname for Kevin's grandfather. The 1914 T222 Fatima cards that Kevin's great-grandfather collected were nearly forgotten until they were found inside an envelope in a secretary desk!  Make sure to always check unexpected places you may find cards in this article here.

Since Kevin was the oldest male grandchild, the collection became his. The Fatima cards sat with Kevin for a few years before he realized they needed to be better preserved, which he did. If you're ever wondering how to store your cards, I have a great article with tips here.

As if finding a stack of rare cards the desk of a family business isn't the story dreams are made of, kicking up the story a notch is a guest of the hotel: General Ulysses Grant and his Aide de Camp slept at the hotel 👀 The family still has the check-in registration book with his signature. I hope Kevin and I work out another deal for that Grant autograph! 

All the key cards were in the collection including the very scarce Walter Johnson! How rare is the Walter Johnson?  In terms of copies known, the Johnson is actually more rare than the T206 Honus Wagner!  Earlier I mentioned how hard any of the cards were tough to find in top grade, but to understand how infrequently the T222 Fatima cards surface, look at the current-known population report for the cards in this family collection. The low totals by PSA and SGC grading companies are mind-blowing! 

Walter Johnson

  • PSA = 9 graded cards known 
  • SGC = 12 graded cards known
Grover Cleveland Alexander
  • PSA = 23
  • SGC = 36

Frank Chance

  • PSA = 8
  • SGC = 15
Rube Marquard 
  • PSA = 13
  • SGC = 26 

Hughie Jennings

  • PSA = 10
  • SGC = 22

Miller Huggins

  • PSA = 12
  • SGC = 18 

 

Ready to see the 1914 T222 Fatima Wilcox Hotel Collection? 

 

New Photo

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Here is a video of the amazing stack of cards:

 

 

A MOMENTO FOR THE FAMILY 

After Kevin and his family was happy with the offer I made to buy the collection, the first thing I had to do was give a card back to the family!  When a collection that was saved from a family business and has stayed in the family for 107 years, I wanted to make sure a little memento stay sin the family for another 107 years.

As a card nerd, I loved every second of carefully holding and looking at each card for the evaluation.  Just the sense of history not just from a baseball perspective but knowing that a few generations passed these cards down to the next .  While I buy and sell many collections, I too have a personal collection that I will be handing down to my son, Crosby, when the time is right.  I hope Crosby appreciates the history the way I do when looking at a great collection like the Fatima cards.

The 1914 T222 Fatima Wilcox Hotel Collection will be sent to a grading company, and then sold privately through our Just Collect site. If you're interested in any of the cards you see here today, please contact us any time!  Though, there is a chance I'll be keeping a card or two for my personal collection 😎

NOT OUR FIRST WALTER JOHNSON T222 FATIMA

A moment ago I shared with you an article about unexpected places you may find vintage cards, and one of those places is inside a Bible.  Back in 2015 I was contacted by a women in Florida that inherited her great-great uncle’s Bible.  Inside the Bible were three baseball cards being used as bookmarks.  One of those cards happened to be the rare Walter Johnson!  Read about the incredible Bible find here. 

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 me today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and I would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect buy list blog here

OUR BUYING PHILOSPHY

I've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage basketball cards, I am also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

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

WON'T THEY BE WORTH MORE IF I GRADED THEM MYSELF

I discuss all of the selling options with everyone that I 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.

I 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 I'm still valuing them the same and paying the same regardless of how much you've invested in grading them.

CONTACT ME ANY TIME

Whether you have 1914 Fatima cards, a Babe Ruth autograph, a Zion rookie, or just want to mock me for how poorly the Jets are going to play in 2021, reach out ANY TIME! 

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