1881 Tobin Baseball Scene with Dog Trade Card

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Tobin Baseball Scene with Dog Trade Card
Year 1881
Size 1 13/16″ x 3 1/8″
Images Color
Type Trade
Number in Set

1881 Tobin Baseball Scene with Dog Overview


Tobin Lithographs was a well-known company that printed all kinds of trade cards in the late 1800s. One of the cards they were known to produce for retailers used this interesting picture.

All kinds of things are going on in this comical scene. There is a runner directly behind a batter that has lost his head. A fielder is actually standing behind the batter. And of course, there’s a dog that appears to be knocking over a player.

Here’s more on the crazy scene pictured on the card.

The cards, as indicated in the small red text inside the box, were copyrighted in 1881 by M.F. Tobin. The large box was used for various advertisers to have their name printed and the card can be found with a host of different stores and retailers. This one shown was for M.I. Frank’s Clothing House in New York but the information in the box changes for each particular card as different businesses put their own information on the cards.

This is one of the smaller trade cards out there. While others are larger and approximately the size of a postcard or small photo, these are significantly smaller and about the size of a business card.

The card is small and has grown in popularity. It is desirable, in part, as it predates many other trade cards that are believed to have been issued later in the decade. Today, nice examples of it can sell for $100 or more.

Others in Set

1881 Tobin Trade CardWhile the baseball card is often believed to be a standalone issue, it is actually part of a set. To date, with the exception of an ice skating card, the other cards I have seen in this set are non-sports cards and it is unclear if other sports cards beyond the baseball and ice skating cards are known. In fact, it is not known if any other cards beyond the ones checklisted below exist.

The scenes on the cards often depict pictures of something going wrong. Also notable is that, in addition to the human subjects, a dog is present in many of the other cards. Shown here, however, is a card from the set (a girl riding a donkey) that includes neither of those things.


  1. Baseball Scene
  2. Boy Leaning Forward in Rowboat
  3. Caged Monkeys with Children
  4. Children with Sailboats
  5. Children on Swings
  6. Donkey Pulling Children Meets Dog
  7. Girl on Donkey
  8. Man with Boy and Dog (Arrow through Hat)
  9. Man Ice Skating
  10. Swans with Girl/Adult/Dog
  11. Woman at Zoo with Umbrella

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