I did a double-take the first time I saw it. Did burnouts really exist in 1910? Maybe, but I'm not sure Percy Sellen here would have made nice with Jay and Silent Boy. It's my country's national symbol (the official one), the maple leaf.
Sellen was a runner who, according to the back of the card, came to Canada as a 27-year-old and was a fast runner, "defeat[ing] such good men as St. Yves, John D. March, Crowley , and many others of the professional crowd." Apparently runners at the tun of the 20th century were one-name wonders like Madonna, Prince, Shakira and Twiggy.
The bio on the back continues, "He has run fast races with Alfred Shrubb but has always been beaten by the latter." Uh oh. Percy no win all his races. Schooled by the Shrubb-master.
I do believe that this is now officially the oldest card I have in my collection. I received another really old card, but I'll hold that one aside for another day. There's some creases, rounded corners and a little bit of writing on the back, but for about the price of a pack of 2009 Upper Deck Spectrum, I was able to grab a little piece of century-old hobby history.
The card comes from Mecca Cigarettes Champion Athletes series (T218). Released in 1910, the complete set encompasses athletes from several sports. There's 153 cards in the set, including many boxers, which seem to get the most attention. The design, like most sets from this era, carry a certain beauty even if the image of Sellen on the front doesn't show a lot of action to it. Although looking at some images doing a little background research I came across two cards that have an uncanny resemblance to two of my favorite characters from the last decade.
If you've seen There Will Be Blood, you'll probably remember the last scene, which makes the resemblance even funnier.
So there you have it. Old cards rule!