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Baseball Cards From the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Photo by Joe DeLessio


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Still in museum collection, but no longer on special display.

The Met's collection of baseball cards may seem a little out of place among the displays of antique furniture and silverware in the museum's American Wing, but, really, what's more American than the national pastime? Donated by Jefferson R. Burdick in 1963, the collection consists of thousands of cards dating from 1887 to 1959. (Only a fraction of them are displayed at a time.) Familiar names like Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra grace 1953 Topps cards in one of the sixteen framed displays, though more obscure ones—like those from a 1910–1911 Pacific Coast League set produced by Obak Cigarettes—are just as rare. The pièce de résistance is the famous 1909 Honus Wagner T206 card, one of only a few in existence. (As one legend goes, Wagner was opposed to being associated with smoking and requested that the production of the card—which was distributed by a cigarette company—be halted. In February, 2007, a T206 sold for a record $2.35 million.)


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