Monday, November 23, 2015

Collection Cornerstones - My Oldest Hockey Card

It's been a while since I did one of these "Collection Cornerstone" posts.  The general premise is as follows...for the past year I've had my car paid off, which means a little extra cash in pocket each month.  I take 2/3 of that and stash it away for the next car, and the other 1/3 goes to a significant new pick-up for my collection.  The idea here is not to blow the card portion on a hobby box or something (not that I'm knocking that in any way), but to use it to land just one or two cards that are significant and stand out from the tens of thousands of other cards I have; cornerstones.

For this round I've got what is now, by a long shot, the oldest hockey card in my collection:

This one will always be one of the oldest hockey cards I own no matter what, as the "C55" tobacco set is among the first few hockey card sets ever released.  I've drooled over these miniature-sized beauties since I first received a reprint set as a kid well over two decades ago now, but never thought I'd be lucky enough to land a real one.

There's not a whole lot to the design, a basic color drawing of the subject framed by a couple of hockey sticks, with a nameplate along the bottom.  Simple, yet effective.  The hockey sticks give the cards a little more character than their T206 baseball contemporaries in my opinion.

In terms of subject, I certainly could have done a lot worse.  I was honestly just looking for the cheapest, certified authentic copy I could get my hands on at the time.  In fact, I didn't even bother to research Marty Walsh before I pulled the trigger on the transaction, but as it turns out he was a really solid player.

After his college hockey career came to an end, Marty signed with the Ottawa Senators, the team he's depicted with here.  During his five seasons with Ottawa, the club won three Stanley Cups, including one the year this card was printed up (1911), which is kinda cool. 

Walsh was a prolific goal scorer, even pacing the ECHA in scoring during his first season.  What is the ECHA?  Well, this card is so old that the NHL didn't even exist yet when it was printed up!  ECHA, the Eastern Canada Hockey Association, is one of the many predecessors to the modern day NHL that emerged just as ice hockey was really starting to take form as a profitable spectator sport.

In a nutshell, Marty Walsh was one of the best goal-scorers in the game just before the formation of the NHL.  He's enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, having been inducted back in 1962.  If Wikipedia can be believed, which in this case I think it can, he left the game of hockey to start a cattle ranch, and sadly passed away from Tuberculosis at just 30 years of age.

Here's a look at the back, got a little glare going on in the scan from the PSA slab.  This one is in pretty great shape if you ask me.  Here's a better look at it:

Again, I'm digging the simple design here.  You're getting the player's name, a list of the teams he's played for, and some ornate border design.  All in all, a nice looking back for something that was printed up before World War I started.

This instantly becomes one of the more interesting cards in my hockey collection, and one I'll certainly cherish for a long time to come!


Marc said...

A thing of beauty. Absolutely fantastic addition.

Hackenbush said...


Mark Hoyle said...

Great card

Commishbob said...

Wow, Shane...that's a terrific add. One of the coolest cards I've seen posting in quite awhile. Congrats

Dave H said...

Wow, wow, wow. Beauty and simplicity together. Great score.

Fuji said...

Congratulations on adding this amazing card to your collection.

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