Collecting Redman Tobacco Cards 1952-1955
For four years in the 1950s, Redman tobacco company produced baseball cards that have captured the fancy of collectors seeking vintage cards at reasonable prices
1952 marked the first year of the giant of the baseball card industry. Topps Chewing Gum became a household name for baseball fans for their annual card issues. But another company also began producing cards in 1952. Redman tobacco issues lasted only four years, but they remain some of the most beautiful baseball cards around.
Tobacco was a popular product for the distribution of baseball cards back in the early 1900s. But there were few tobacco issues after the 1920s. Finally, Redman came along and issued one card per tobacco pouch in 1952. The players in the 52-card set were chosen by The Sporting News. Measuring 3 1/2" by 4" including a detachable tab at the bottom, the cards featured many of the stars of the day like Ted Williams, Stan Musial and a young Willie Mays. The tab could be detached for a free Redman baseball cap and, of course, many of them were detached. Today, cards with the tabs still attached carrry a premium. Collectors willing to settle for "tab-less" cards can find some great bargains compared to Topps or Bowman cards of the same vintage as they are worth 30-40 percent of the value of the cards WITH the tabs attached. The cards feature portraits of the players with biographical information on the front.
Redman continued to produce its cards in 1953, 1954 and 1955. The complete sets all carry a book value of between $650 and $2700, depending on condition. There were 52 cards issued in 1952 and 53 and 50 in 1954 and '55. The cards are numbered 1 through 25 or 26 with an "A" or "N" behind the number designated for "American" or "National" League with an even number of players from each league represented.
There are variations of a few cards in the 1954 set, with players having been traded during card production having one variation featuring them as members of one team and a second variation with their new team. The cards issued after the trades carry a slightly higher premium.