Tobacco Advertising and Baseball

As tobacco companies found that promotions and advertising could have tremendous positive effects for their market share they began to test ever more expensive, elaborate, and sophisticated techniques to encourage the public to buy their products.

By the 1880s-1890s baseball had already become the undisputed national past time. The game and its star players were well known and well followed. There were many efforts to tie-in to this type of success from branding efforts centered around baseball players to baseball cards placed in packaging for people to collect.

Of these only a few involve tobacco tins such as those below:

Of all the tobacco tins and promotions, probably the most famous is known at the T206 Card Collection. This is a set of baseball cards that were included in packaging of 16 brands made by the American Tobacco Company, mainly in cigarette packs, but also in the Ty Cobb tobacco tin, making it one of the most valuable tins in the collecting world. The set consists of 524 different cards that are a huge collecting category all their own. I highly suggest you check out which is the leading site for information about the T206 set.

Of all the cards in the set, the most valuable by far is the Honus Wagner card. This card has sold for over $3 million in good condition, but is so rare that even poor examples have sold for $400,000. An example is seen below: