Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1910 T218 Champions Abe Attell

The Vintage Card of the Month comes from the 1910 T218 Champions set, this 153-card set were included in packs of Mecca, Hassan and Tolstoi cigarette packs. The set was made up of various champions from billiards, bowling, boxing, flying, golf , track & field and swimming. The majority of the set was made up of the boxing and track & field cards. This set is beautiful, amazing illustrations and fascinating colors.

The card that I am highlighting for this month is the Abe Attell boxing card. Attell, known as “The Little Hebrew” and “The Little Champ”, was an interesting fighter. He fought his first fight at 17 and a year later he was the Featherweight Champion, which he held from 1901-1905. He took the title back in 1906 and held it for 6 years, defending his title 18 times. When he finally retired in 1917 he fought 172 fights, winning 125 (51 by KO), lost 18, 21 draws and 8 no contest. He is in the Boxing Hall of Fame, the International Boxing Hall of Fame, the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Jewish Sports hall of Fame. As a boxer there is no question of how he fared but towards the end of his career he made some friends in low places, namely noted New York mobster Arnold Rothstein.

Regular readers will know of my fascination with the 1919 Black Sox. The connection here is that Abe Attell was the “rumored” go-between that worked out the details with the White Sox players for Mr. Rothstein. When everything collapsed the rats fled the ship leaving the players holding the bag. The players were eventually acquitted but were banned for life, including Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver (one of my favorite players). Rothstein claimed ignorance of the fix and was never charged and Abe Attell convinced the court that they had the wrong Abe Attell.

Unfortunately this card is not in my collection. A reader, named Phil, contacted me not long ago to ask for some help identifying a nice collection of vintage cards, he was helping out an associate who had received the cards from a family member and this was one of those cards. The collection was quite extensive and contained sports and non-sports cards, all tobacco era from the early 1900s. We spent a little over a week going over the cards and talking about our own personal collections, this was definitely a fun endeavor and I got to see some awesome cards.

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