This trade card set is primarily a non-sports issue. However, it is popular for an early card of heavyweight boxing champion John Sullivan.
The card features a cartoon depiction of Sullivan in a fight and is titled, “Sullivan, Ye Jolly Miller.”
The card includes a crude image of Sullivan easily winning a fight against a bloodied opponent. Despite the imagery, collectors cannot dismiss the importance of this card. It is sometimes considered as Sullivan’s earliest actual boxing card and thus is a potential rookie card for the legendary great.
Adding to the card’s intrigue is that it is fairly rare. Calling the card scarce may be a bit of a reach but it is not one commonly seen. Today, the card typically starts in the $100-$200 range, though some sellers are inclined to ask for more due to its historical significance, which has increased in recent years.
Cards are identified by small print at the bottom with an 1882 copyright date along with the name of the lithographer E.B. Duval.
The card is part of a set of others though I have not been able to confirm how many make up the entire release. It should be noted that a similar series of Duval postcards exist with Oscar Wilde character depictions. However, they are usually considered to be separate from this issue.
1882 E.B. Duval Trade Cards Set Checklist
Sullivan’s card is the only known sports card in the set.