I recently completed another trade with John, a reader of this blog and a fellow Phillies baseball card collector. Solely based on the Phillies doubles he has available and the impressive nature of his wantlists, I imagine that John's Phillies baseball card collection must be amazing. He recently put together his Phillies wantlists from the 2000s, and I was more than happy to help him out with his pursuit of new-ish Phillies cards.
In return, I got a whole mess of old-ish Phillies cards. Most of the older Phillies cards are in lesser condition, but John did a great job pointing out their minor flaws before shipping them along to me. Frankly, I've become less and less condition-sensitive as I get older (and wiser) and I was thrilled to add a bunch of Phillies cards from the '50s, '60s and '70s to my collection.
Three of the cards in John's package were my first "Exhibit" cards. I wasn't familiar with these cards, so a bit of research was in order. According to the Standard Catalog, the Exhibit Supply Co. of Chicago released these oversized cards between 1947 and 1966, issuing some of the same cards over several years in a row in some instances. All told, there are 336 unnumbered variations of these cards produced over the twenty-year span.
I found this handy dating chart, which helped me determine that the Del Ennis card was most likely first issued in 1947. The "MADE IN U.S.A." on the bottom right is exactly a half inch across. The Richie Ashburn card is actually an error variation (his first name is misspelled on the card) and was first issued in 1950. On both the Ashburn card and the Whiz Kids team card, "MADE IN U.S.A." is exactly 7/16th of an inch across. (Click on any of the cards to enlarge.)
I scanned the complete 336-card checklist and there appears to be at least two dozen (maybe more) Phillies in the 1947-1966 Exhibits set. (Hopefully 14,000 Phillies will insert a comment to this post with a Phillies checklist - hint, hint.)
Thanks again for the trade John!