Newspaper columnist boils tobacco cards. Ethical? I don’t mind.

Just saw an interesting video shot by a columnist for The Trentonian in New jersey. In short, the writer found 70 1909-1911 tobacco cards featuring flags of the world (Think Allen & Ginter) and they were glued to a piece of cardboard. In the writer’s quest to separate the cards, he tried to freeze them as well as hold them over steam, to no avail. In the end he threw the cards into boiling water and the things separated cleanly. He then dried the cards for three days by placing them between heavy books.

The column he writes is an interesting one as it evokes the question: Was this ethical?

Given that I collect a decent amount of vintage — most of which is in bad shape — I figured I’d tackle this issue from my prospective.

Honestly, this practice doesn’t bother me one bit.

We’re talking about a century-old card that was nearly destroyed by its previous owner who glued it to another piece of cardboard, presumably to showcase these flags. If someone can find a way to remove the card and salvage it from being one step closer to being recycled, then more power to them.

I understand that some consider this altering the card, but to me it definitely is on the lower end of the spectrum if you want to call it that. For me, he has not trimmed the edges, nor has he resurfaced/recolored the picture, background or border, so to me it doesn’t matter much at all.

Would a grading company be able to detect such a tactic? Depends … not many cards can be placed in water and come out looking untouched.

Having said that, if the card were for MY collection, I’d love to pay a slightly discounted price for a card that looks great. Sure as hell beats a card that’s attached to some other nonsense. And if no one ever informed me of how the card came to be, I wouldn’t mind either, so long as the card is authentic and not a reprint.

You can watch the video here

One Response to “Newspaper columnist boils tobacco cards. Ethical? I don’t mind.”

  1. I know most collectors love to encase their cards in plastic but I prefer to have cards that appear as if they have been loved. In fact, we’re making cards purposely distressed right now and collectors seem to like them.

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