If you’re looking for cards that best portray baseball at the time they were issued, the M101-4 and M101-5 cards are a great choice.
They were also quite an undertaking. Produced by Felix Mendelsohn, they were sold as a promotional tool to several different companies, including The Sporting News. Many had their business advertising placed on the back while others simply gave them out without spending money to have an ad printed.
In the latter group was the Famous & Barr boys’ clothing store in St. Louis, which probably figured that getting a card of a big league player might soften the blow for a boy who would have rather spent the day doing just about anything else.
The sets offer a good representation of the players active in the big leagues at the time and include many Hall of Famers and recognizable names from the era including, of course, what’s often referred to as Babe Ruth’s rookie card.
The posed action pictures are popular with collectors and the cards offer a clean, simple design. While produced on thin cardboard, some have held up well over the years, but high grade examples are still quite rare.
We have 11 cards from these sets and each and every one is the highest graded example on the SGC Population Report! There are four M101-4’s and seven M101-5’s up for bid on eBay right now. The 4’s---Chief Bender, Three Finger Brown and Dave Bancroft are especially rare since the vast majority of cards issued by Famous & Barr were M101-5’s.
But what a collection of 5’s we have. It’s like a Hall of Fame roster. You can bid on players like Grover Cleveland Alexander, Johnny Evers, Sam Crawford, Nap Lajoie, Miller Huggins Red Faber, Harry Hooper and even Black Sox standout Oscar “Hap” Felsch.
Simply put, “finds” of these types of cards happen once in a blue moon. Higher grade examples are virtually impossible to find, but that’s just what we have here… simply the best, most rare cards of some of the best players from 96 seasons ago.