The Old Judge Newsletter

Last update: Sep 3, 2020 @ 10:52 am

Try to make a living in this hobby and you’ll learn about … deceit, unfair business practices, the lack of truth in advertising, price manipulation, collusion, restraint of trade, insider trading, patronage, extortion, payoffs and bribes, graft, plagiarism and, last but not least, hype.” – Lew Lipset, 1990.

Lew Lipset published The Old Judge Newsletter from 1985 through 1994. In all, there were 49 issues and 2 supplements, both issued in 1986. Almost all of the content came from Lipset himself, although he did have occasional guest writers; Tom Faith’s articles on Goudeys, in particular, are especially good.

During the period when Lipset was writing the newsletter, the hobby experienced enormous growth in collector participation and prices followed by a significant crash in the early 90’s. Two of his primary newsletter subjects were card shows (most notably, the National) and hobby publications like SCD. Those things are no longer relevant now but when you read of Lipset’s disgust with fraud perpetrated by dealers, you’ll realize that not much has changed in the three decades since.

The Old Judge: The First Four Years. This is a 45mb PDF of the complete run taken from “The Old Judge: The First Four Years”, published in 1989. This covers the years from 1985 through 1988.

Below are links to PDFs and indexes for all issues from #1 through #21, as well as the two supplements. I hope to eventually get to copying issues #22 through #49.

Intro (pages 1-4). Frontispiece and 1-page intro by Lipset into the origins of the newsletter.

Issue #1 – Spring 1985.

  • Opening statement
  • Kalamazoo Bats (pt. 1) with checklist
  • 1960 Tattoo (article by Tom Reid)
  • 19th century price guide
  • “Price Analysis”
  • 1892 schedule card
  • “Opinion” piece focusing on SCD and the National

Issue #2 – Summer 1985

  • Opening statement
  • “Old Judge Supports Dallas” (1986 National bid)
  • “The Milwaukee Bid” (SCD’s bid for National which Lipset strongly opposed)
  • Kalamazoo Bats (pt. 2)
  • Ullman’s Postcards
  • “Statistical Analysis” of prices of 1933 Goudeys and 1953 Bowman Color
  • F273-19 Kellogg’s Pep thumb-sized cards
  • book review of “Complete Book of Collectible Baseball cards (Lipset unimpressed)
  • unopened T217 Mono Cigarettes box
  • “Hobby Goings On” (discusses upcoming book containing pictures of all Topps issues)
  • letters from Frank Nagy, Byron Martyn, Jack Schultz, Bob Brooks, Mark Larson, Jon Jarrett, Howard Epstein

Issue #3 – Fall 1985

  • Opening Statement
  • 6th National Convention in Anaheim review
  • Baseball Cigar Box Labels (article by Walter Handelman)
  • “The Alteration of Cards”
  • Early Gum and Candy Card Price Guide
  • 1958 Topps Basketball (uncut sheet configuration)
  • 1972 Yankees schedule card
  • “The Break Factor” (prices for individual cards vs. sets)
  • An Unusual Autographed Item (1940 Playball of Willard Hershberger)
  • Encyclopedia updates (new card discoveries)
  • letters from Keith Olbermann, Elwood Scharf, Gavin Riley, Dwight Chapin, Stan Silbert

Issue #4 – Winter 1985

  • Opening Statement
  • New National Voting Regulations
  • 1872 Athletic Trade Card
  • Encyclopedia updates (new card discoveries)
  • Cinderella Cards (Canadian Parkhurst card)
  • “The Break Factor” (prices for individual cards vs. sets)
  • The Spalding Letter (Mike Gutierrez discovery)
  • Early Gum and Candy Card Price Guide
  • Mystery Foreign Sets (1953 Provincial League set from Canada)
  • TOJ Follow-ups (mostly National stuff)
  • “Statistical Analysis” (T206)
  • Hobby Notes (T206’s, alterations, 1963 Rose card mania)
  • letter from Keith Olbermann

Issue #5 – Spring 1986

  • Opening Statement
  • National Follow-up
  • The Winter Issue of TOJ Concluded (amended). Lipset tees off on Tony Galovich
  • Types of 19th Century Photographs
  • 1892 Cleveland Spiders
  • Baseball Sheet Music (article by Walter Handelman)
  • 19th Century Price Guide
  • Husky Cereal
  • R340 Goudey premiums
  • 1969 Topps Minis
  • Hobby Notes (mentions Krause plans for first catalog; Bob Lemke cited)
  • Break Factors
  • PX3 Doubleheader Pins (1933 issue)
  • Statistical Analysis of T205’s
  • Carrafeil’s Mystery Issue (late 1920’s Philadelphia A’s cards)
  • 1949-50 D290-15A Bread for Health Basketball Bread End Labels (article by Tom Reid)
  • letters from Bruce Paynter, Ace Marchant, Jack Schultz, John Stanley

Issue #5a – Spring Supplement 1986

  • Opening Comments
  • National Registration News
  • The Restoration of Cards
  • 20th Century Tobacco Price Guide
  • letter from Julie Vognar

Issue #6 – Summer 1986

  • Opening Comments (preview of upcoming 7th National in Arlington)
  • New Steering Committee Members
  • Leslie’s Woodcuts
  • The First HOF Postcards
  • How National is the National? (breakout of dealer locations)
  • Hobby Notes (recent transactions)
  • Early Gum and Candy Card Price Guide
  • Interesting Cards (N284 type III, N172 Anson in uniform, T204 Ewing with reversed printing)
  • Peck & Snider Trade Cards (article by Walter Handelman)
  • A Short Poem
  • E Card Update (new info on several cards)
  • letters from Walter Hall (Hall’s Nostalgia), Andy Valenty, Frank Nagy, Richard Greenspan, John Spalding

Issue #6a – Summer Supplement 1986

  • Opening Comments
  • Autograph Survey request
  • 1986 Break Factors
  • Baking, Periodical and Postcard Price Guide
  • Baseball Break Factors
  • Football Break Factors
  • Hobby Notes (Kendig fake, other notes)
  • letter from unknown

Issue #7 – Fall 1986

  • Opening Comments – The 7th National in Arlington
  • A Steering Committee Victory
  • Next Year’s Show
  • National Notes
  • National Quotes
  • 1971 Topps Football Sheets
  • Statistical Analysis – R327, R330, Berk Ross
  • Miscellaneous Price Guide
  • E card updates (explanation about E224 Texas Tommy, several others)
  • book reviews of Illustrated Price Guide to Non-paper Sports Collectibles (Hake book), Sports Americana Price Guide No.
  • Hobby History (profile of Gelman, Burdick, Wray, DeNardo meeting)
  • “The Mint Phenomena”
  • F273-27 Kelloggs Sport Stamps
  • letter from Henry Kipp

Issue #8 – Winter 1986

  • Opening Comments
  • New Encyclopedia Out (Vol. 3 on T cards)
  • State of the Hobby (review of hobby papers)
  • Kellogg Pep Stamps (cont.)
  • 1946 Sears East St. Louis Postcards (article by Rich Hawksley)
  • Cleveland Pencil Clips
  • 1930’s Gum Card Price Guide
  • Additions to sheet music checklist
  • Interesting Cards (1957 Topps Football card, Canadian issue)
  • What Is an Autograph Show?
  • Rare and Unusual Ruth Cards (D32 Drakes, Exhibits)

Issue #9 – February 1987

  • Opening Comments
  • Review – The Hobby Papers
  • Baseball Monthly Photos
  • A.J. Reach Letter of 1898
  • Chicago White Sox Decals – 1972
  • 19th Century Price Guide
  • Book Reviews – New Price Guides
  • Are Prices Being Manipulated? Pt. 1 (answer: they were)
  • A Visit to Brimfield (outdoor antiques market, not enjoyed by Lipset)
  • Hobby Notes
  • Follow-up Hall of Fame Postcards
  • letters from Wm. Bartely, Stanley Mailen Jr., Joe Sworen, Steve Speier, Bill Nielsen

Issue #10 – April 1987

  • Opening Comments
  • Manipulations, pt 2 (grading shenanigans)
  • Autographs (with price survey)
  • Kalamazoo Bat Find (new additions)
  • A Baseball Challenge – 1867 Style (article by Walter Handelman)
  • 20th Century Tobacco Price Guide
  • Hobby Notes
  • Tobacco Update (new finds for S74, T3, T204, T206, Obak album, Plow Boy)

Issue #11 – June 1987

  • Opening Comments
  • National Notes (preview of upcoming SF National)
  • Autograph Price Survey (cont.)
  • R308 Tattoo Orbit
  • 1948-9 Leaf Baseball Sheet
  • The Music Never Ends (more sheet music)
  • E Card Price Guide
  • Hobby Notes
  • Price Guide Comparison
  • letter from Don Hazelwood

Issue #12 – August 1987

  • Opening Comments – The National Convention (San Francisco)
  • National Hostilities (Lipset goes off on promoters)
  • Review Of The National
  • Summary
  • Next Year
  • National Statistics
  • Baking, Periodical, and Postcard Price Guide
  • National Quotes
  • National Notes
  • Sportfolio
  • Autograph Survey Notes
  • Interesting Cards (’49 Leaf Paige variation, Ty Cobb Tobacco tin)
  • letters from Ron Hart, Frank Pemper

Issue #13 – October 1987

  • Opening Comments
  • Autograph Survey Criticism
  • Interesting Cards (T210 Jackson, V300 wrapper, fantasy Playball card, M101-4 with “The Noon-Day Cafeteria” back)
  • E Card Update (E222 find)
  • Tobacco Card Update from Keith Olbermann
  • Baseball Digest
  • R344 Maranville’s Secrets
  • Miscellaneous Price Guide
  • 1959-1960 Los Angeles Dodger Postcards
  • Detroit – Ford Postcards
  • Swift’s Premium Franks
  • Detroit Cards (1940)
  • Hobby Notes (’49 Leaf Paige update, Larry Fritsch on T206 Doyle, minor league sets)
  • letters from Walter Hall, Wm. Rex Lorson

Issue #14 – December 1987

  • Opening Comments
  • The State of the Hobby – 1987 (long article)
  • View-Master Reels (1953)
  • “Strictly Speaking” (how to pronounce “Goudey”)
  • 1930’s Gum Card Price Guide
  • Volume 4 of Baseball Card Encyclopedia ad
  • Press Pin Data
  • New Buchner Sheet Discovered (N284)
  • Interesting Cards (Ruth in strip card, M101-4/5 Becker, 1922 Zeenut Thorpe)
  • Hobby Notes (new T209 discovery)
  • “A Baseball Cardaholic” (poem by Ken Shaw)
  • Comments in the Hobby (Al Rosen, Dan Albaugh, Bob Schmierer, Gloria Rothstein)
  • book review of “Classic Baseball Cards” (generally positive)

Issue #15 – February 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • Auctions, Hype and Lies (a TOJ Classic!)
  • A Scientific Study of Goudeys (article by Tom Faith)
  • 1925 Exhibit Set of Champions
  • 19th Century Price Guide
  • Interesting Cards (’61 Topps Choo Choo Coleman, T220 Coburn)
  • Following up on the Pronunciation of “Goudey”
  • E and T card updates (Dan Mckee reveals Baseball Bats of Ames and Devlin, T207 Boston NL cards)
  • Hobby Notes
  • Press Pin Update
  • Hobby Quotes from Tony Galovich, Baseball Card News Circular, SCD
  • letters from John McLean with obit for Charles Bray, James Maxwell, anonymous, Richard Merkin, John Spalding

Issue #16 – April 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • Errata (fixes to recent Goudey article)
  • $100,000 for a T206 Wagner? (Lipset suspects price manipulation)
  • St. Louis Browns Silk (1887)
  • Market State (slowdown evident)
  • Old Baseball Stock Certificates
  • 1957 Cincinnati Team Issue
  • Hobby Notes (shows, lucite cases used for deception, W502’s and Yeunglings, ’55 Dodgers uniforms)
  • New SCD Monthly Price Guide
  • 20th Century Tobacco Price Guide
  • Hobby Quotes (hyperbolic SCD ad, Dan Albaugh, Bob Lemke, Tony Galovich)
  • Interesting Cards and Items (1915 postcard of Dodgers pitchers, Jackie Robinson postcard, W572, 1888 Detroit ticket stub)
  • 1966 Fleers [sic]
  • What is a Variation
  • letters from Jim Zygaj, Michael Olenick on trimmed cards
  • Phoenix Suns Carnation Milk

Issue #17 – June 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • The Coming National (Atlantic City)
  • National Politics
  • Beckett & Krause Price Comparisons
  • Letter from the President of Goudey (1977 letter from George C. Thompson to Bruce Dorskind; mentions Delong, National Chicle, George Miller, others)
  • Price Guide (E cards)
  • Sports Oddities (1954 Quaker Oats set)
  • Phoenix Suns Basketball (cont.)
  • A-1 Premium Beer Phoenix Suns
  • Hobby Notes (T206 Wagner, reprinted Spalding guides, Larry Fritsch’s card museum)
  • Hobby Quotes (Bob Lemke, Alan Kleinberger, Jim Hawkins)
  • Encyclopedia Update (E223 discovery, 1915 Cracker Jack, W575 discovery, T201 Dougherty/Lord scarcity)
  • “Greed?” (Lipset accuses Krause Publications of redundant printings)
  • 1925 Champions Exhibit Set Update

Issue #18 – July 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • Autograph Survey Note (article by Mike Gutierrez)
  • 1988 Autograph Survey
  • U.S. Olympic Stars – New 1932 Exhibit Set
  • 1933 & 34 Goudeys: Observations and Analysis (article by Tom Faith)
  • Autograph Survey (price guide)
  • 1953 Topps: Variations, Scarcities and Theories (article by Pete Waldman)
  • The Old Judge Updates (John Spalding on 1916 Dodgers postcard)
  • Statistical Analysis Topps Set Price Summary
  • letters from Lionel Carter, Brian Gettings

Issue #19 – September 1988

  • Opening Comments (Lipset informed by Bob Lemke that Old Judge Newsletter is banned from ads in SCD)
  • National Review (Lipset dislikes Atlantic City, show was adequate)
  • The Bidding for Next Year (Chicago bid defeats Las Vegas)
  • National Notes
  • 1933 Goudeys, Pt. 2 (article by Tom Faith)
  • D (Bakery) Price Guide
  • Subscriber Ads
  • National and Other Quotes (Al Price, Barrons magazine, Bob Lemke on Al Rosen’s spat with Yankees)
  • State of the Market
  • 2 Different 1916 Who’s Who
  • letters from Lee Wade, Ralph Nozaki

Issue #20 – October 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • Hobby Notes
  • E Card Updates (E94 overprint discovery, E270 discoveries, E285 Rittenhouse)
  • Market Report
  • Press Pin Data
  • Metropolitan Studio Set (1931 Cardinals)
  • Miscellaneous Price Guide
  • T206 Larry Doyle
  • R328 U.S. Caramel #16 Discovered! (Midwest find of 80+ cards including Lindstrom)
  • Baseball Magazine Program
  • Detroit Team Issue of 1930’s
  • Detroit Free Press Color Supplements
  • letters from Bill Nielsen, Dave Martin

Issue #21 – December 1988

  • Opening Comments
  • Spalding’s Spanish-American Guides (article by Richard Merkin)
  • Hobby Notes
  • Star-Cal Decals
  • 1930’s Gum Card Price Guide
  • Subscriber Ads
  • Five Favorite Finds (M116 Seymour, T207 Red Cross, T205 Hindu, R340 Goudey, E271 Darby Candy Cards)
  • Encyclopedia Updates (T213 Demmitt with New York uniform)
  • Interesting Cards and Items (Christy Mathewson Thum Movie Postcard, George C. Miller wrapper, H.M. Taylor Tigers team postcard, 1948 Leaf Hermanski)
  • Hobby Quotes (anonymous, Gloria Rothstein, Bob Lee, Tuff Stuff magazine)

Index compiled by John Spalding