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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Card Show Top 20 - #5 Hoops Inspiration

Pop quiz: Who remembers 2009 Topps Murad Basketball?

Answer: Nobody! Unless you specifically collected the set. It was a tobacco-era retro set in a sport where retro cards are from 1986. It was released in the middle of a depression* and no one knew what the hell it was so pre-orders were lousy which caused the print run to be anemic so you didn't see much of it in retail outlets. I personally found exactly one box of the stuff in a Target by the Perimeter and I probably bought most of the packs out of that box myself over the course of two months. On top of all this, the design was pretty dang weird. Artistic portraits with odd backgrounds with pennants and such with a gold/bronze border? That just screams basketball, doesn't it? What was up with that?

This was:

1909-1911 T51 Murad College Series

Here's an original Murad tobacco card from 1909. Or maybe 1911. I've checked three different references and I'm getting three different answers.  Let's split the difference and say 1910. This set featured colleges and universities. Each card showed off the college insignia, a pennant featuring the college name (or acronym at least) and a sport representative of the school. Well, usually a sport. I picked up the card of the U.S. Naval Academy, so instead of a sport we get a frikkin BATTLESHIP. Furman's card gets bird calling, while Navy blows the birdies out of the sky with CANNONS. While oddball in nature, there are several popularly collected sports features on the cards including baseball, football and basketball. Sadly, no NASCAR, WWE or Pokemon.

The set features the first cataloged basketball card. There is a similar college set of felts, the B-33 College Series set that also features basketball subjects, but those are felts and these are cards. I can't find a solid date for those things either, so let's just say the T51s are the first ones and be done with it. The first major basketball set wouldn't come out until almost 40 years later when Bowman released a hoops set in 1948. Out of the 150 card Murad set, only four of the cards have basketball subjects:

#24 Williams College
#35 Northwestern
#120 Luther
#150 Xavier

The cards are slightly smaller than standard modern cards at 2-1/16 x 2-11/16 inches. There are also premium cabinet sized cards with premium cabinet sized prices. Since most people who read this blog are into baseball and could not care less about basketball, here's the list of eight baseball subjects in the Murad set:

#9 Fordham
#19 Penn State
#38 State University of Kentucky
#92 Ohio State University
#109 Haverford
#128 Antioch
#131 Bethany
#146 Kentucky Wesleyan College

And super extra added bonus: Here's a gallery of all eight baseball cards from the Murad set.

Backs are fairly plain as are most tobacco cards from the era. Murad Cigarettes "The Metropolitan Standard" adorns the top of the card, a series checklist takes up the bulk of the back and the manufacturer S.Anargyros' legalese is on the bottom.  This particular card also has a price tag of $2.50, but I got it in the super magical lollapalooza dollar box. There was a second one in there too but it featured some dumb boring sport like track and not a lethal killing machine like this one.

I have no idea how to end this post so let's just end it with this:

The Top 20 List:

#20 Reds' Heavy Artillery
#19 Blue MadDog
#18 Lil' Jimmy
#17 Real Fake '52
#16 First Topps
#15 Bogus Boog
#14 V103 Tree
#13 Sertoma Rico
#12 '55 Finishers
#11 Hey Shiny
#10 What the Dickens
#9 '60 Spahnnie
#8 Lonely '53
#7 Super Chief
#6 Original Frank
#5 Hoops Inspiration
#4 Rocket Robin
#3 Wizard Off Kilter
#2 Shenanigans Were Called
#1 The Holy Grail of Commons

*I was unemployed then so it was a depression. I've got a job now so we've upgraded to a recession. As soon as I can afford a case of Allen & Ginter a Wii U we'll be in full recovery. 


SpastikMooss said...


I debated collecting the set a while ago. Then was like wait...what? Decided instead to get all the lacrosse ones and the IU one, since I currently go there.

AdamE said...

To bad they did a Penn State baseball card instead of football. 1909/1910/1911 could have been Paterno's RC.

CaptKirk42 said...

The Muppets are always fun to end on.