N508 Sub Rosa Women Baseball Players Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N508 Sub Rosa Women Baseball Players
Year 1880s
Size 1 5/8″ x 2 1/2″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

N508 Sub Rosa Women Baseball Players Overview

N508 Catcher

The N508 set is a rare issue featuring various women in baseball scenes and poses. Packed with 1800s tobacco products, these cards were a precursor of cards that would come a few years later and feature actual male players.

This set features advertising for Sub Rosa Cigarettes and in addition to the picture, have a caption on the front describing the player or scene. Sub Rosa Cigarettes is believed to have been an Allen & Ginter brand.

Cards are similar to the N48 set, which included female players, and also the popular N172 Old Judge set in terms of design. As with those issues, a premium is placed on high quality images since many have faded over time. They are sepia-toned and 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.

One intriguing aspect is that the cards are also numbered on the fronts, which was rare for sets from that era.

Dixie Misclassification

N48 The Pitcher.jpg

There are five different types of the N48 Dixie Cigarettes cards. One type of the Dixie Cigarettes cards is similar to the N508 Sub Rosa Cigarettes cards. That group appears to have been miscategorized in recent years.

In the American Card Catalog, Jefferson Burdick states that set #508 (known to us today as N508) is a series of women baseball players. He states that the cards are for Sub Rosa and Dixie Cigarettes and that they are numbered (presumably as the one shown on this page). Meanwhile, no company names are provided in the N48 designation. Burdick only states there are two types – one with women in polka dot outfits and one with playing positions stated.

The best evidence for calling this type of Dixie Cigarettes an N508 issue is plain as day. The cards use the exact same images, exact same captions, and exact same numbers. The lone difference is the logo for the brand. Dixie Cigarettes have a Dixie logo while the Sub Rosa ones have a Sub Rosa logo.

Despite the similarities and Burdick’s own classification as N508 cards, this particular Dixie Cigarettes type is considered as N48 along with the others. That actually makes some sense given that they are also somewhat similar to all of the other Dixie cards that fall under N48. However, assuming they are the same ones Burdick spoke of, that Dixie Cigarettes type should definitely be considered an N508 issue and not N48.

Here’s a closer look at the various N48 types and the N508 comparison.

N508 Sub Rosa Women Baseball Players Checklist

A checklist for the N508 Sub Rosa cards has not been fully confirmed. I have listed the known cards that I have seen to date.

Personally, I believe the set is complete at nine cards. I have yet to see a card number higher than nine in this series and have not seen more than nine cards in any of the numerous variations in the N48 set. My belief is that nine different Sub Rosa cards exist despite any known confirmation.

  1. Stealing Second
  2. The Pitcher
  3. Out at First
  4. Double Play
  5. Double Him Up
  6. Short Stop
  7. Catcher
  8. Right Fielder
  9. The Champion Batter