The Old Judge Newsletter

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 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 wrote the newsletter, the hobby experienced enormous growth in participation and prices, followed by a significant crash. Two of his primary newsletter issues were card shows (mostly notably, the National) and hobby publications like SCD. Those things are no longer relevant in 2018; however, when you read 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.

Below are links to PDFs and indexes for all issues from #1 through #21, as well as the two supplements.

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