Jefferson Burdick’s trading card collection
Jefferson Burdick’s trading card collection is one of the largest collections of trading cards in the world, gathered by the “card collecting pioneer”.It is currently housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Jefferson R. Burdick (1900-1963) was an American electrician and trading card collector and cataloguer.
A 1922 graduate of Syracuse University, Burdick was an electrician by profession, according to the museum website.
In 1939, he authored The American Card Catalogue, which is still used as a reference for dealers and traders.
Many cards continue to be referred to by their designation in Burdick’s catalogue.
Burdick is often referred to as “the father of card collecting”. He started collecting as a 10 year-old, acquiring any type of American ephemera. Most of his collection was acquired inexpensively.
Between 1943 and 1963, Burdick donated the collection of 306,353 cards to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It included over 30,000 baseball cards. A small part of this collection is on display at the museum.
Burdick modestly described the collection as follows:
“The present collection, through the help of friends and fortune, is better than average in both quantity and quality … A few of the cards were obtained in 1910, but most of them have been acquired since 1933.”
Included are 8 cards from the rare George C. Miller Co. 32 card set, as well as the R301 Overland Candy, described as “large cards in beautiful shape … a complete set, all in order”.
Highlights of the collection are several of Joe Di Maggio cards including a National Chicle Company Issue 1936 colored-photo card, a 1936 Baseball and Football Diamond Star, Leather Finish card, and a Goudey Heads Up Issue 1938 card and a Goudey Gum Company's 1939 Baseball Star card.
Other cards in the collection include 30 T205s from 1909, 30 T206s from 1909, 12 1933 Goudeys including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, 6 1948 Leafs including Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Joe DiMaggio, as well as many more.