‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||N360 Base Ball Scenes
|Size||1 5/8″ x 2 1/2″
|Type||19th Century Tobacco
|Number in Set
1894 N360 Base Ball Scenes Overview
Unlike some other early sepia-toned tobacco issues featuring female athletes such as the N48 or the N508 sets, the N360 set was a full-color set. It is a rare issue featuring various women in assorted baseball poses. The women are not professionals and the pictures were nothing more than a way to get men to purchase more tobacco.
Unlike the somewhat similar N557 Little Rhody Cut Plug National Sports set, this set contains only women in baseball scenes. Some of the poses in the set can be considered a bit risque for the time period.
In the lower right corner, the cards have the name ‘Donaldson Brothers’ printed in small type, which was likely the printer or possibly the lithographer.
Most of the cards had no other text (besides a small ‘copyright’ in the lower left corner). Little Rhody cards, however, had their name on the front with a schedule on the back. The Little Rhody cards included a slogan that read, ‘Smoke and chew Little Rhody Cut Plug.’
The cards are generally recognized as either Little Rhody Cut Plug cards or Ideal Cut Plug cards. However, the cards featured many different backs and included other rarer backs as well, such as Helmet Cut Plug and Pluck Cut Plug.
One quirk is that some of these backs are found with a taped sponsor name over top of presumably a different one. That was likely done if a certain brand was selling a lot of tobacco and quickly needed to secure more cards. Instead of having more printed, this was an easy way to change them. The only taped ones I have seen to date are for Ideal Cut Plug tobacco. That, unsurprisingly, is the most common back in this series.
Most cards have simple sponsor advertisements on the backs but some also have printed baseball schedules.
Dating for the set seems to be all over the place. Some have cited it as an 1880s issue while others state it is from 1890, 1892, or 1894. Schedules on the back that I have seen correspond with the 1894 season but I am unsure if other printings were done in other years with different schedules.
Many of the backs are difficult to find but a premium is usually only realized if knowledgeable sellers know how rare a certain back is and insist on a higher price. The series is so rare that even most experienced collectors couldn’t tell you much about it.
1894 N360 Base Ball Scenes Checklist
The cards are unnumbered and presented below in random order. Keep in mind that with the numerous back variations, a complete master set would include many more cards.
- Fielder catching ball two-handed
- Fielder running and waiting for ball (no ball in picture)
- Fielder still and waiting for ball (no ball in picture)
- Fielder hands on knees
- Fielder on base catching ball one-handed
- Fielder on base waiting for ball
- Fielder on base holding ball
- Fielder on base ready to throw ball