While everyone else was out partying and getting drunk and freezing their butt off in Times Square on New Year's Eve, I ended up having to work that night. Yeah, that sucked but it did allow me to do a little eBaying during the slow periods (which was all night, to be honest). I ended up getting a nice haul of ninteenth century tobacco cards that evening from seller davidbvintage. David B is a pretty big seller of some seriously nice vintage cards and he was having an end of year blowout sale. I managed to hop on the clearance train and pick up some... well nice isn't really the right word... let's say some cards that I will appreciate in my collection. I got a LOT of cards that night so I'm going to break my haul up into three posts. First up is cards from the Random Crap department.
I'll start off with stuff you're familiar with. I won a group of four assorted Allen & Ginter birds. The first one is from the N5 Birds of the Tropics set. You may remember my Great Bird of Paradise card from a previous post, this one here is a Concave-Casqued Hornbill.
It's a good looking picture of a strange looking bird with a weird name. That big lumpy thing on its head is called a casque, and apparently it is concave. The front of the card is pretty, however the back is not. Squeamish people should look away now.
Blearggh! That is the most disgusting looking glue damage I've ever seen on anything, let alone a trading card. It looks like some sort of fungus or disease and believe me, it feels pretty awful too. Every time I touch it, I want to scrub my hands with Lava soap. This is one card I wouldn't mind getting graded just so I never have to touch it again. The front is really good though and it would display great in a picture frame or something. Here are three more birdies for you that are not nearly as horrible.
This trio is from the N13 Game Birds set. I already had one of these cards, I just haven't gotten around to sharing it yet. Hey, I gotta spread these posts out to keep you coming back for more, don't I? From top to bottom we have a Rail, a Red-Head Duck and a Rock Ptarmigan. That's a pretty diverse group of birds there, the rail lives in wetlands, the ptarmigan live in the Arctic and ducks are pretty much everywhere. I'd never heard of a ptarmigan before I saw this card. Apparently they are tasty though, since they've earned the name 'snow chicken'. Bring on the ptarmigan McNuggets! All three cards are decent looking although they all have a little paper loss on the back and some paint chipping on the border on the front. The birds themselves look pretty good though. Not as good as my other Game Bird, tease, tease. Ok, enough with the birds already. Time for some manly cards.
These next three cards are from the Kinney Brothers Tobacco company. Kinney Bros. were based out of Manhattan and were one of the major competitors of Duke and Allen & Ginter in the 1880's tobacco market. At least, of course, until all the competitors consolidated into the American Tobacco Company in 1890. If you have aT205 or T206 card with a Sweet Caporal back, then you have a card from a Kinney Bros. product. Sweet Caporal was one of the first popular tobacco brands, and was created when F.S Kinney added sugar and licorice to his tobacco mixture. Kinney Bros. produced over 30 trading card sets to promote their products including these three:
This one here is from the N244 Military series. That could very well be ol' Jebediah Springfield himself. This is an absolutely huge set of cards for the time at 622 total including all the different variations. You can see some galleries down toward the bottom of this link. The set is not only enormous, but there are some extremely scarce cards from the set that make completing one a very difficult challenge. If you look through the archives of the Vintage Non-Sports Chat board, you'll find a few very cagey expert collectors close to completing the set. Unfortunately since there is more than one collector hunting for those last few cards, it seems that no one wants to talk about them lest they give away what they are looking for. This card is a very colorful Private from the City Guards of Springfield, Ohio.
This card features bright colors and has liberal use of gold metallic ink. Other cards in the series have a much more subdued background. These cards are prized for their highly accurate depictions of military uniforms of the time. There are also cards of foreign troops, historical troops, coats of arms, military decorations and even a couple of historical ships. The back has a checklist of all the cards in this particular series. There are other backs with various advertising on them as well. This one would be in very good condition if not for the big chunk out of the corner.
Here's another nice card with a bite out of it. This is from the N226 Naval Vessels of the World set. This is a series of 25 famous ships from the navies of the United States and Europe. This set has a little bit of a 1962 Topps feel to it, the extremely detailed lithograph of the ship appears to have the corners curling in, and the ship's name and an advertisement can be see in in the surrounding gold border. This card is of the British battleship the HMS Colossus. Once again a good looking card is spoiled by a missing corner, this time taking away the card's Union Jack.
The back has a checklist of the 25 card set. I wouldn't mind finding a card of the USS Atlanta, a protected cruiser of the 1880's navy that ended up being featured in several trading card sets of the time.
Here's the last one from Kinney, a horsie! This is from the N230 set, Famous English Running Horses. Racing was a big-time sport in the 1880's so racers were a frequent subject on cards. This one is of Tristan, who won the Gold Cup and the Hardwick Stakes in 1883. I don't know if that means he won two races or if he got the Gold Cup for winning the Hardwick, but I do know that jockey George Fordham looks snazzy in his red, white and blue racing silks. According to Wikipedia, Tristan won the Hardwick Stakes and the Champion Stakes three years running from 1883-1885, so this is one bad mofo of a horse. The back has an ad stating that 25 of the cards could be exchanged for a great big 8 by 10 cabinet card of one of the racehorses. These cabinets are number N239 in the American Card catalog, and I will never ever see one, even if I do collect 25 of these things. Heck , I'm having a hard enough time finding a racehorse for my Allen & Ginter set, I'm almost ready to draw a picture of Old Planter on the back of this card and be done with it. At least this particular card isn't missing bits.
Well, there's the majority of my big haul from DavidB. Seven beater cards and not one of them fills a slot in my Allen & Ginter set. Heck, I'm about a sixth of the way to a Kinney Bros. type set now, which is one thing I do not need to be starting with 2008 Topps hitting the stores soon. So why did I do it? And how much did I pay for all this junk? WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?! These answers will be revealed in parts two and three...