1887 N28 Allen & Ginter “The World’s Champions”
Many hobbyists are intimidated by the thought of collecting 19th Century tobacco cards. Financial considerations and abject scarcity of material keep but a small percentage of passionate collectors from entering this fascinating field. Those who do enter the realm are rewarded with some of the most fascinating relics of an era well beyond even a distant memory. In the late 1880s, the technology for photography was still in its infancy, and the process was both expensive and time consuming. In stark contrast, print lithography was a flourishing medium. Today, the late 19th Century is referred to as the Golden Age of printing. The unsurpassed color schemes, variety of subject matter, and eye-catching technical quality still impress collectors as much in 2012 as they did more than 125 years ago. In the late 1880s, one of the largest producers of cigarettes was Allen & Ginter of Richmond, Virginia. Inserted into that tobacco producer’s ten-cigarette boxes might have been a small (generally 1-3/4” x 2-3/4”) cardboard work of art from any one of the more than thirty different, 50-card productions for which the firm is responsible. Among the most popular of these releases is the series catalogued N28 “The World’s Champions,” which was produced in 1887. This was to be the first of two series dedicated to the top names from a selection of athletic endeavors. As expected, its ten baseball subjects hold the greatest following, and six of the ten players representing the sport would eventually be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.This catalog section features several categories of these sought-after inserts, including desirable groups of Boxers, Billiard Players, Wrestlers and other athletes - all in an admirable state of preservation!