1886 Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine Cabinets (H807-2) Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine (H807-2)
Year 1886 (?)
Size 5″ x 7 1/2″
Images Sepia
Type Early Tobacco
Number in Set
9 (each set)

1886 Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine (H807-2) Overview

Allen and Ginter Polka Dot Nine Trade Card

Polka Dot Nine.jpeg

The images are sepia-toned and they are surrounded by a decorative border. Instead of featuring players in actual games, the women are depicted in a series of baseball poses to make it appear as if they are playing.

While these were cataloged by Jefferson Burdick as H807-2, I have included this issue into the N-Card section as a 19th Century Tobacco card. At the time of his book, Burdick did not classify N-Cards as 19th Century Tobacco cards as we do today. But by our standards today, that is where they belong.

There are a total of three types of these cards. One has a decorative frame around the picture and a light-colored border. A second has the same design but a yellow border. A third has no border and is a sepia card. As I wrote here, the company was quite stingy in handing these out and that has probably contributed some to the rarity.

The fronts also include card numbering and the set gets its name from the ‘Polka Dot Nine’ printed on the bottom. The bottom also states that the full set of the series includes nine different cards that represent the various positions in baseball. The cards also have ‘Crop of 1884’ below the Virginia Brights name at the top, signifying they are likely from that year.

True to their name, the girls in the set are wearing a variety of polka-dot apparel.

Cards are a larger cabinet issue, measuring slightly bigger than a 5″ x 7″ photo. As a cabinet, it features a picture that was mounted to a piece of cardboard. Backs of the cards are entirely blank.

The cards don’t show up for auction too often. They are also similar to the Virginia Brights Black Stocking Nine set produced in the 1880s. None of the three types are particularly easy to find. As I wrote here, the company was quite stingy in handing these out and that has probably contributed some to the rarity.

Dating of the Sets

While these are often believed to be from 1884, that does not appear to be the case.

An 1886 article in the Atlanta Constitution cites photos of nine baseball women (specifically, it says they are nine handsome female baseball players), which are likely either these sets or the sets of the other Virginia Brights cabinet sets. The article seems to allude to these being a new set as it says the photos had only been available in Atlanta for a few weeks.

Additionally, another Allen and Ginter set, N46, which featured female cigarette makers, also has at least one card that displays a Crop of 1884 sign. However, those cards are believed to be issued after 1884.

As a result, 1886 is often cited as a year for the release of these cabinets.

1886 Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine (H807-2) Checklist

Nine photos appear in the set and all pictures depict generic women with a card number printed on the image.

  1. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 1)
  2. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 2)
  3. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 3)
  4. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 4)
  5. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 5)
  6. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 6)
  7. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 7)
  8. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 8)
  9. Female player with polka dot uniform (printed No. 9)

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