Guest Post: Where's the Cookie?

Editor's Note: Guest Post written by my brother, Jim.

When my wife’s aunt passed away six years ago, she left a box of Phillies items to our family. In the box was a paper bag of newspaper clippings dating from the 1950s-60s, including 18 of the 25 artist Jim Ponter’s drawings printed in editions of the Philadelphia Bulletin during September 1964.  Each numbered 5x7” clipping features two drawings (a headshot and an action pose) and brief biography of the specified player.  Not a Picasso, but not bad for a Phillies collector like me…

I was familiar with the set of drawings from seeing them at shows, and though some had condition issues, I decided to try and get as many signed, as possible. I began the process by sending letter through the mail – nailing down some quick successes from players who sign for free such as John Herrnstein, Jim Bunning and Bobby Wine.   Then paying for others such as Rick Wise, Frank Thomas and Johnny Briggs. Over the course of three years I was a perfect 16 for 16 in returns from living players!

Collectors may note the companion set to the newspaper player photos: unnumbered 8x10” color versions printed on heavy stock paper.  There are 28-different drawings of 27 players – a variation of Jim Bunning exists with a head shot wearing a hat.  Available only through mail-order, these drawings seem to be more readily available on the secondary market, but are also generally more expensive than the newspaper version.  A complete set can sell for a few hundred dollars – with the Bunning variant serving as the most rare and expensive single card.

After buying 13 of the color cards at a local flea market I went back to the box of clippings where I had previously seen a mail order checklist to see who I was still missing.  Once found, the checklist revealed an oddity with the set – there was no option to order a Cookie Rojas drawing.  One of my 13 was a Rojas – so, it begs the question: How did he get distributed?  I have never read about, or heard from other collectors about Cookie being rare, so my only guess is that he was included when the complete set was ordered… but have no confirmation on this theory.  

Over the past year or two I have been scouring different places for the rest of the “Ponter drawings” collection.  I was fortunate to pick up a few on eBay and I am always able to get a couple at the Philly Show. To date I have been lucky to also assemble a partial set of 21 – and am currently saving up to buy the Bunning’s and Dick Allen.  I haven’t figured out the whole “Cookie Rojas checklist omission” yet but it’s just another reminder of why collecting is so much fun…