I haven't done one of these in a while and I have some backlogged birds I need to get to so it's time to post a few of my Allen & Ginter pickups. When I started this thing I really had no clue what to expect to pay for these cards and truth be told, I still don't. That's what happens when the premiere reference and price guide for nineteenth century Tobacco cards is copyrighted 1999 and out of print. I did have an idea that for a few sets it would be difficult to find even a type card at the price I wanted to pay. The N28 and N29 World's Champions sets are one example of a card I'm going to have problems finding cheaply as the baseball subjects (and notoriety from the Topps sets) are buoying the price of all the cards in the set. There are also some scarce issues out of the first 34 A&G sets that might be trouble tracking down such as the N15 Generals and N12 Fruits sets (although while I was in the process of writing up this post I may have gotten one of them dirt cheap - we'll see how the transaction goes) that I may have to hunt for a long while before finding. Out of all the issues though, there's one that's almost more iconic than the Champions set and just as hotly collected: N2 American Indian Chiefs.
This is a classic set. A full gallery can be found here. The lithographs are amazing and there's a lot of history in the subjects. Several historical figures including Geronimo, Sitting Bull and Chief Joseph are featured in the set, which was released during their lifetimes. The lithographs used in this set were reprinted at least twice and Indian Chiefs were always collectible among trading cards. Western themed memorabilia is wildly popular and this set gets a lot of crossover collectors who don't usually collect trading cards. The bad news is because of the demand, high grade cards can easily sell for several hundred dollars. The good news is that because of the demand there are a lot of these cards being traded out there and since I'm not all that interested in a pristine card, I was able to find a nice looking one on the cheap.
This is the third card I picked up from eBay seller lakotainc along with Osprey and my Dude. I won it on my birthday and only paid $11.10 for it. Not too bad considering the prices for a lot of them. It's a little beat up with rounded corners and some stains, but no wrinkles and no paper loss. It looks pretty good in hand. The subject is Cayatanita, who was difficult to find information on. A Google search showed nothing specifically on him, but I stumbled upon this photo of a Navajo delegation to Washington. Cayatanita is third from the right on the top row. A Google Book search found 'Dinetah: An Early History of the Navajo People', a book containing a picture of him (which looks a lot like the card) labeled "Cayatanita, brother of Manuelito, 1874". I Googled Manuelito and found his Wikipedia page. Manuelito is actually featured in the N2 set as "Great War Chief: Navajo". Manuelito was a key figure in negotiating with the US to form a treaty to end the Long Walk and restore the Navajo people some of their lands.The picture used as a model for the lithograph on the card is the one on the Wikipedia page. Another search turned up the original print of the photograph used for Cayatanita's card and the photo in the book.
If you choose the large size picture on the link the original albumen print looks absolutely spectacular. If there is any Allen & Ginter set that I might end up collecting after I'm done with the type set it's this one. The combination of the lithography and history is really attractive. I wonder if there's a modern reprint set out there somewhere? Hey Topps, I have an idea for you for 2008 Allen & Ginter...