05-12 Card of the Day: Order of the Bath

This Emblem Cigarettes non-sports card dates back to 1911

Mike Schopp
May 12, 2020 - 12:33 pm
Card of the Day - Order of the Bath

Photo: Mike Schopp (@Schopptalk)

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1911 T56 AMERICAN TOBACCO

ORDER OF THE BATH

My wife's late grandfather had a modest card collection that our family divided up upon his death in 2006. There were some bird cards, some college stickers that he'd stuck onto cardboard, and a few other random examples. Tuesday we have card No. 9 from the American Tobacco Company Emblem Cigarettes "Emblem Series" (T56), "Order of the Bath". It doesn't seem to be worth very much.

Enjoy for yourself the paragraph on the back, about how Henry IV used to require his knights to bathe. (Terms not disclosed.)

Also, feel free to offer details about what's written on the bottom: "FACTORY NO. 649 -- 1ST DIST. STATE OF NEW YORK". Are we talking here about where the cigarettes -- and the cards -- were produced?

I don't know of there being much interest in these Emblem Series cards. Baseball cards from a century ago can earn very high prices, depending on condition. There's a substantial market for graded tobacco cards -- the most famous of which is easily the T206 Honus Wagner card from 1909-11, a card that has sold for millions. You've heard of that one, I assume.

Dozens of sets like this Emblem Series were manufactured. Birds, actresses, buildings, generals, presidents, battleships... emblems.

A check of PSACard.com's Population Report reveals that only 91 cards from this 50-card series have been graded, including only two "Order of the Bath" cards (one 2, and one 4).

While this long-forgotten series may have only a very small following, plenty of non-sports cards can command real dollars. Even some of those Pokémon and Magic the Gathering cards your kids (ok, mine) play with have rare variations that sell for big money in mint condition. There were Beatles cards in the 1960s, Star Wars and Rocky cards from the '70s and '80s, and so on. Just because it's non-sports doesn't mean it's non-valuable.

Excluding, it seems, the Order of the Bath.

1911 American Tobacco T56 Order of the Bath card
Mike Schopp

Card of the Day for May 12: 1911 American Tobacco T56 Order of the Bath (back)
Mike Schopp
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