1886 Dixie / Virginia Brights Girl Players Set (N48)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N48 Dixie Cigarettes / Virginia Brights Girl Players
Year 1886
Size 1 5/8″ x 2 1/2″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set
72 (?)

1886 N48 Dixie Cigarettes / Virginia Brights Girl Players Overview

N48 Virginia Brights 4N48 Dixie 3The N48 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 both Dixie Cigarettes and Virginia Brights products. The ads are printed in a variety of locations, including the bottom of the card or in background signage that is in the scene. Its biggest distinction is being so difficult to keep track of with various types available.

Cards are similar to the popular N172 Old Judge set in terms of design. 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. Some of the cards have advertising on the back while others are blank. Ones with ads are generally more valuable.

Five Types

In all, I have identified five different N48 types. One, Type 4, ties into the N508 Sub Rosa issue.

  • Type 1: Dixie Cigarettes and Virginia Brights (N48) – Positions
  • Type 2: Dixie Cigarettes and Virginia Brights (N48) – Numbers with Borders
  • Type 3: Dixie Cigarettes and Virginia Brights (N48) – Numbers without Borders
  • Type 4: Dixie Cigarettes (N48) – Captions on Bottom
  • Type 5: Virginia Brights (N48) – Polka Dot Apparel

With the five types identified, here are some notes:

The ‘Captions and Small Number in Box’ type cards use the same captions for both Dixie and Virginia Brights. Pictures are also either exactly the same or with very slight variances.

For Dixie Cigarettes, the large number cards for both the border and no border variations are either same or very similar. The only difference is the presence of a border. That is not true for the Virginia Brights variations, however, as some of the pictures are entirely different.

Finally, the polka dot apparel cards are what Jefferson Burdick calls Type 2 in his American Card Catalog reference. Burdick did not identify all of the different types mentioned here. Instead, he only cited cards featuring players with non-polka dot uniforms (Type 1) and polka dot uniforms (Type 2).

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

N508 Sub Rosa Link and Dixie Misclassification

N48 The Pitcher.jpg

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 today as N48 along with the others.

1886 N48 Dixie Cigarettes / Virginia Brights Girl Players Checklist

A complete checklist is unknown. However, these are the are the cards I have seen thus far.

Please note that because cards with numbers up to No. 9 have been discovered and no known type has been found with ten cards, I have assumed nine cards can be found in each subset/type. This, of course, may be erroneous. But as a starting point in a checklist for this series, that is my assumption for now.

Even within the different types, I have found a few variations of the different position cards with position captions. In other words, more cards besides the ones listed here could also exist.

N48 DixieDixie Cigarettes (with position captions and small numbers in box) – note that these are not presented in numerical order.

  1. 1st Base
  2. 2nd Base (with pose variation)
  3. 3rd Base (with pose variation – different model)
  4. The Batter
  5. Catcher
  6. Centre Field
  7. Pitcher
  8. Short Stop
  9. Stealing Second

N48 Dixie 2Dixie Cigarettes (with number only and without border)

  1. Fielder
  2. Fielder Catching Ball
  3. Fielder with Base Catching Ball (facing right)
  4. Fielder with Base Catching Ball (facing left)
  5. Fielder Catching Ball on Base
  6. Batter with Catcher
  7. Catcher with Hands on Knees
  8. Woman (Pitcher?)
  9. TBD

N48 Dixie 3Dixie Cigarettes (with number only and with border) – either same or similar photos to ‘number only’ set with border

  1. Fielder
  2. Fielder Catching Ball
  3. Fielder with Base Catching Ball (facing right)
  4. Fielder with Base Catching Ball (facing left)
  5. Fielder Catching Ball on Base
  6. Batter with Catcher
  7. Catcher with Hands on Knees
  8. Woman (Pitcher?)
  9. TBD

N48 Dixie 4Dixie Cigarettes (with number and caption at bottom / same as N508 Sub Rosa)

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

N48 Virginia Brights

Virginia Brights (with position captions and small numbers in box) – note that these are not presented in numerical order

This set includes at least two variations known for the 1st Base and 2nd Base card where the pictures are similar poses but slightly different. This could be an entirely different type.

  1. 1st Base
  2. 2nd Base
  3. 3rd Base
  4. The Batter
  5. Catcher
  6. Centre Field
  7. Pitcher
  8. Short Stop
  9. Stealing Second

Virginia Brights (with number only and no border)N48 Virginia Brights 2

  1. Unknown
  2. Unknown
  3. Fielder on Base Catching Ball (facing right)
  4. Unknown
  5. Unknown
  6. Batter and Catcher
  7. Catcher Hands on Knees
  8. Unknown
  9. Unknown

Virginia Brights (with number only and with border)N48 Virginia Brights 3

  1. Catcher Receiving Ball
  2. Unknown
  3. Fielder on Base Catching Ball (facing right)
  4. Fielder on Base Catching Ball (facing front) (The ‘4’ was printed backwards)
  5. Unknown
  6. Fielder Hands on Knees
  7. Unknown
  8. Unknown
  9. Unknown

Virginia Brights (polka dot uniforms / with number and Virginia Brights name written at bottom)N48 Virginia Brights 4

  1. Pitcher Showing Back
  2. Fielder on Base Holding Ball over Head
  3. Fielder Bending Down to Catch Ball
  4. Baserunner Sliding with Catcher
  5. Batter going to First with Catcher
  6. Player with Bat and Catcher Mask on Ground
  7. Baserunner and Fielder with Ball
  8. Baserunner or Fielder with Hands on Knees
  9. Catcher with Polka Dots Reaching over to Catch Ball
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