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Charles

This blog is about vintage and hand-made baseball cards, art, brewing and cigars, history and anything interesting that I think should be passed along. Come often, you are welcome!
Charles has written 215 posts for helmarblog

Willie makes it home


Display case of Willie Mays baseball cards.
Photo courtesy of Joe Band

Joe Band has a great collection of Willie Mays cards but knew that his collection just wasn’t complete without an example of Helmar’s Oasis series Mays tribute. More so, Joe specifically wanted the Tokio cigarette version–no other one would do. After months of searching Joe recently found what he was looking for! Congratulations!

Willie Mays Oasis series baseball card.
Back of Willie Mays Oasis baseball card.

Koufax is Perfect!


courtesy of Michael Fox

Michael Fox has shared another of his great scoresheet posters, this time detailing the perfect game Sandy Koufax pitched in September of 1965. I just love these! Charles

Another Billiards Champ!


Morris Brown, by Helmar

Another from the small grouping of pool players that we have done. The green field of the table always seems to make for an interesting card. Charles

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Two Tons of Punch


Tony Galento by Helmar

From Wikipedia:

Galento, who claimed to be 5’9 (177 cm) tall, liked to weigh in at about 235 lb (107 kg) for his matches. He achieved this level of fitness by eating whatever, whenever he wanted. A typical meal for Galento consisted of six chickens, a side of spaghetti, all washed down with a half gallon of red wine, or beer, or both at one sitting. When he did go to training camp, he foiled his trainer’s attempts to modify his diet, and terrorized his sparring partners by eating their meals in addition to his.

He was reputed to train on beer, and allegedly ate 52 hot dogs on a bet before facing heavyweight Arthur DeKuh. Galento was supposedly so bloated before the fight that the waist line of his trunks had to be slit for him to fit into them. Galento claimed that he was sluggish from the effects of eating all those hot dogs, and that he could not move for three rounds. Nevertheless, Galento knocked out the 6’3″ (192 cm) DeKuh with one punch, a left hook, in the fourth round.

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Running the Table, #2


Jerome Keogh by Helmar

Mr. Keogh was a five time world champion and inventor of the game of straight pool. One of the greatest ever.

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Running the Table


Edward Gardner by Helmar

It may be forever before we get around to publishing this series so I thought that I would give you a sneak preview of another of the paintings. This card will feature Edward Gardner, the New Jersey native that held the world championship spot in 1902, 1906, 1910, 1914 and 1916. This is one of several pool players in the series. I love the way the red and green work. Charles

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Masterpieces of Printing


Could this be improved? I doubt it. I am also doubtful that this level of work will ever be accomplished again. There are many talented artists and printers out there that do fantastic work within the constraints that they have. Some of the processes in this piece, however, would practically need to be reinvented.

An Unbelievable Life-Thomas Sopwith


Helmar “Daredevil” series Thomas Sopwith

London Historians’ Blog is a wonderful place to spend an hour. Here’s what they say about Mr. Sopwith:

“As a small contribution to #RAF100, I’d like to remember in particular a man who – while never in the RAF himself – did build tens of thousands of their warplanes. Boy, did he build them. That man was Sir Thomas Sopwith (1888 – 1989). Remembered mainly for the aeroplane that bore his name – the Camel – Sopwith also gave us many other famous fighter planes, including the Hurricane, the Hawker Hunter and, believe it or not, he was also involved in the Sea Harrier, some 60 years after World War One. In other words, he was building aircraft from barely ten years after the Wright brothers up to a model which is still in use by the US Marines today, over a century of in-service fighter planes. You won’t be surprised to learn, then, that Sopwith himself lived to be 101. “

It also turns out that Mr. Sopwith was a great hockey goalie and even played for the 1910 Great Britain National Hockey Team that won the gold medal in the first European Championships. Maybe it would be fun to make a hockey card of him.

Give London Historians’ Blog a read sometime soon. Best, Charles


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Free Helmar Magazine!


Okay, I finally got around to uploading the Fall, 2016 issue of our magazine. I loved doing the magazine and now you can view it online for free!

The viewing software is great, even if it takes a few long moments to load. You can zoom in to amazing detail and there are dozens of links throughout the magazine that makes it a snap to look up the lifetime stats of the players. If you haven’t tried viewing one of these magazines online (there are now six) you are in for a treat! Get it at the website-for free!


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1933 Game of the Century


Collector and historian Michael Fox has created an attractive and clever poster detailing Baseball’s First All-Star Game. He’s come up with a great way to follow the action of the game in visual form–great idea! It takes just moments to orientate to the format and then you can easily follow the action of the game. Very nice.

Michael is doing other important games in this manner and I hope that he’ll share some additional ones in the future. They are designed at 24″ x 18″, a perfect size for a poster. Thanks, Michael!

Did a Smack lead to Austin McHenry’s Death?


Austin McHenry by J. Scott Pedley

Reader John Coulson was glad to see this painting of St. Louis Cardinal Austin McHenry. McHenry had a very short, if memorable, career that was cut short by a tragic brain tumor.

To back up a bit, Austin McHenry was a son of Ohio, born in September of 1895. His talent was evident as a youngster and he began playing professionally for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association in 1916. The following spring he was invited to training with St. Louis but a ball off the bat of Sherry Magee broke his nose and sent him to the hospital. It took a month before he was ready to play again. Having lost his opportunity to impress, he was sent back to Milwaukee for the rest of the season.

Austin made the Cardinal team the following year and by 1921 had blossomed into one of the biggest stars in all of baseball. That season he appeared in 152 games, batting .350 with 102 runs batted in. It looked as if his future was assured. The following season, however, McHenry began to have double vision and would often feel unsteady on his feet. Fly balls became a challenge and his batting suffered. In June he was sent home to undergo tests. A brain tumor was discovered and operated on but the procedure was not successful. He died in November of 1922.

Since the beginnings of his serious troubles there has been speculation that the hard foul off the bat of Sherry Magee was responsible for the tumor.

Display Exhibit #6, Cleveland


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J. Scott Pedley does The Man


Jackie Robinson by Pedley


Jackie Robinson by J. Scott Pedley

Mr. Pedley’s art has really caught on. I love the colors in this one and the way that he handles the face planes. Scott is also a great guy.

Helmar Rug Arrives!


Months ago I wrote that I had partnered with a traditional, hand-woven maker of rugs for a test project. I was anxious to see how the traditional method of tying small knots to make a design would work out on our theme of vintage baseball. There ended up being a few unexpected twists but I am very happy with the finished piece. At left the rug is nearly finished.

And here is the finished piece! I don’t know whether to put it on my floor or on my wall. But I do love it. It has that old world tapestry feel to it. If anyone else is interested in a one-of-one design let me know. They are not inexpensive but will last forever.

Here’s a beautiful exhibit of tapestries from the Renaissance. I would love to design something that large. Charles

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Exhibit Display #5, Cleveland


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If it is spring then Matty is back


Eddie Plank, Philadelphia Athletics


Eddie Plank by Helmar and Natallia Valiukevich

A Project to Think About…


No, this doesn’t really exist…yet. Helmar digital mock-up.

These digital mock-ups were intended for my Baseball History & Art magazine but just didn’t fit. I’ve thought through the process and I am sure that we could make a physical product pretty close to these images. It would be quite a project, though, and I’m not sure that anyone would be interested. Better known players would help. Charles

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Ty Cobb Badge…


“Stolen Base” by Helmar.

It’s my birthday so I think a Ty Cobb, my favorite player, is appropriate today. Charles

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Exhibit Display #4, Cleveland


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The Red Baron Lands…


The Red Baron by Helmar

Our new series “Daredevil Newsmakers” is available now!


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Honus Wagner Badge


Honus Wagner Sporting Goods by Helmar

I did this for the Honus Wagner Sporting Goods Company. Charles

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Mike “King” Kelly Art


Helmar Mike “King” Kelly

Something else I have been playing around with. Here’s King Kelly, well-known as the “10 Thousand Dollar Man”. Let me know if you would like to see a series like this, please. Charles

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Abner Doubleday, Blues


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Exhibit Display #3, Cleveland


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Jack Barry, Philadelphia A’s


Jack Barry, by Natallia Valiukevich

Natallia is coming along very well with her watercolors. We’ve been adding more color to her uniforms which, in my view, adds nice complexity and depth.

You might remember Jack Barry as the longtime shortstop, mainly for the Athletics. Over eleven seasons he only managed a .243 batting average but no one can deny that he knew how to win. His A’s teams won World Series Championships in 1910, 1911 and 1913. They also appeared in the 1914 World Series but the incredible Boston Braves were not to be denied. Boston swept the more polished team in just four games.

Connie Mack broke up the team over the winter and Barry was sold to the Boston Red Sox. He took his winning ways with him and that very season saw Boston in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies and their ace, Grover Cleveland Alexander. Boston took the series in five.

Minnesota Fats on the Table


Minnesota Fats by Helmar.

There’s a lot that I like about this one: the sweater, the background works well and, of course, it is a very good likeness. It will be fun to come back to this series soon. I am doubtful that the prints will get the price results that I hope for but it is well worth doing anyway. Perhaps an album to go along with the cards is worth considering if I can come up with something new. Charles

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As You’ve NEVER Seen Him!


Jim Jeffries Helmar art.

I’m really regretting that I chose white for the early boxing trunks for obvious reasons. It is a beautiful painting, though, of a great boxer. Should I change the color for the card, when it is made? Charles

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Exhibit Display #2, Cleveland


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