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19th Century Baseball Cards

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  • 19th Century Baseball Cards

    one of the treasures of the library of congress is the benjamin k. edwards collection. the collection contains over 2100 baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1910. you can access images of the collection here.

    just for fun, i'm going to post some of the cards here.

  • #2
    Allen & Ginter

    the allen & ginter world's champions tobacco card set was released in 1887 and is considered the first significant set issued. there were ten ballplayers in the 50 card set (which also included boxers, billiard players, wrestlers, and the like) and the cards were inserted in packs of allen & ginter cigarettes. a complete set of the ten ballplayers in the right condition is valued at over $78,000.


    cap anson


    jack glasscock


    charles comiskey


    charlie bennett


    john clarkson


    monte ward


    joe mulvey


    parisian bob caruthers


    tim keefe


    the back of the cards

    the only card i don't have a good image for is king kelly.
    Last edited by hubkittel; 01-03-2007, 10:51 PM.

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    • #3
      Buchner Gold Coin

      anoter tobacco insert, the buchner gold coin cards were released in 1887 and contain 143 baseball players (as well as actors, jockeys, and policemen). the artwork pales in comparison to the allen & ginter cards and the representations are not only crude but also sometimes not even accurate.


      buck ewing


      dave foutz


      deacon white


      jim o'rourke


      king kelly


      mike dorgan


      paul hines


      tip o'neil


      ned hanlon


      the back of the card

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      • #4
        One More Buchner Gold Coin Card

        my personal favorite buchner card



        not a bad portrait of der boss, chris van der ahe. if you shaved the mustache and grew the hair out a bit, it looks like me in my senior class picture.
        Last edited by hubkittel; 01-04-2007, 01:48 AM.

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        • #5
          Four Base Hits

          since i just figured out how to add an attachment to my post (and it only took eight months ), i want to post this picture of one of the 1887 four base hits cards. these are the holy grail of 19th century baseball cards. these cards are very difficult to find and very sought after. a comman card in near mint condition would go for over ten grand and the king kelly card, one of the treasures of the baseball card world, would be worth a small fortune. while the four base hits cards were tobacco inserts, it's unknown who issued them. very rare, very popular.

          the ballplayer pictured, btw, is al mays.
          Attached Files

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          • #6
            A Few Other Rarities

            since i have this attachment thing down...

            this is a team card from peck & snyder, put out in 1869, of the cincinnati red stockings. it's one of the first team cards ever printed. peck and snyder were manufacturers of sporting goods and used the cards and other baseball related artwork (some of which was used on scorecards in the 1870's and 80's) as a promotional device.
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              here's two 1871 mort rodger's photographic scorecards, on with harry schafer and the other with harry wright. one of the harry wright scorecards sold for over $12,000 in 2003. the rodger's scorecards were four page booklets that contained a scorecard and advertising inside. a photograph was contained within the cover's oval hole. not a baseball card but still pretty neat.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by hubkittel; 01-04-2007, 02:54 AM.

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              • #8
                this is a cabinet card of paul hines. cabinet cards were large, mounted albumen photographs that were often kept in, believe it or not, cabinets. albumen photography was a major advance over daguerreotypes that allowed a photographer to create multiple, high quality copies of a picture from one negative. most of the photographs used in 19th century baseball cards are albumen photographs. whether cabinet cards should be considered baseball cards is a matter of debate but i like this picture of hines and wanted to post it.
                Attached Files
                Last edited by hubkittel; 01-04-2007, 02:50 AM.

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                • #9
                  Gypsy Queen

                  the gypsy queen card set was released in 1887 by goodwin & co, the same folks who put out the old judge cards. the sets use similiar photography but the qypsy queen cards are much more scarce. they came in two sizes, with the larger sized cards being very rare. another tobacco insert set, there were 129 cards issued. the following cards are of jack glasscock, sam barkley, ezra sutton, and tug arundel.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by hubkittel; 01-04-2007, 02:21 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Buchner Gold Coin is a funny set. Have a look at the cards of King Kelly and Mike Dorgan. Same ballplayer. Ditto with Ned Hanlon and Paul Hines.
                    "They put me in the Hall of Fame? They must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel!"
                    -Eppa Rixey, upon learning of his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

                    Motafy (MO-ta-fy) vt. -fied, -fying 1. For a pitcher to melt down in a big game situation; to become like Guillermo Mota. 2. The transformation of a good pitcher into one of Guillermo Mota's caliber.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dalkowski110
                      Buchner Gold Coin is a funny set. Have a look at the cards of King Kelly and Mike Dorgan. Same ballplayer. Ditto with Ned Hanlon and Paul Hines.
                      yeah, the artwork is kind of crude. i tried to throw a few of the similiar player types in so you could see that. the artwork really looks bad next to the allen & ginter cards. the buchner cards seem to have a few stock player types that they used over and over-one for catchers, one for pitchers, one for outfielders, etc. slap a mustache on this one and, bam, you have king kelly. i do kind of like the back of the cards though-"continue to save the wrappers, they're valuable". i'm not sure what that's all about but it's kind of funny. it's probably some kind of premium offer where you collected the wrappers and redeemed them for another card or some other prize.
                      Last edited by hubkittel; 01-04-2007, 10:05 PM.

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                      • #12
                        here's the king kelly four base hits card that i was talking about earlier. the value of this specific card was $10,000-not exactly a small fortune but not bad.

                        Last edited by hubkittel; 01-05-2007, 12:59 AM.

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                        • #13
                          The Kalamazoo Bats Series

                          the 1887 kalamazoo bats series was a tobacco insert produced by charles gross & co of philadelphia. they are among the most sought after 19th century baseball cards. there is a series of 60 player cards, 6 team cards, and 34 cabinet cards.


                          joe mulvey from the player series


                          the back of the mulvey card


                          the 1887 philadelphia athletics


                          one of the unlabled cabinet cards (i don't know who the players are)

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                          • #14
                            1886 Old Judge

                            the 1886 old judge series is the precurser to the big old judge set of 1887. this set only contained 12 players (and i think they were all players on the new york giants)


                            joe gerhardt


                            the back of the card

                            below is the tim keefe card (i'm not sure if the blue color was added or the card is actually like that)
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by hubkittel; 01-05-2007, 01:53 AM.

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                            • #15
                              1886 Red Stocking Cigars

                              a very rare card set. only three red stocking cigar cards are known to exist. a card collector named jim mclean discovered the three cards (which featured honest john morrill, charlie buffington, and charley radbourne) about 25 years ago.

                              below is the morrill card.
                              Attached Files
                              Last edited by hubkittel; 01-05-2007, 02:06 AM.

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