1878 Forbes Company Trade Cards Set (H804-6)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title H804-6 Forbes Company Trade Cards
Year 1800s
Size Various
Images Color
Type Trade
Number in Set

1878 H804-6 Forbes Company Trade Cards Overview

Sample baseball advertising trade card from Set H 804-6

The H804-6 Forbes Company set is part of the baseball comic series of trade cards.

The cards feature a variety of humorous baseball scenes depicting baseball players in a variety of situations. Of note is that most of the faces of the players have unusual looks and their bodies are oddly shaped and mostly lanky. The cards have very brief titles, using only a single word or a two-word phrase to describe the picture.

In addition to a caption at the top, the cards also have the copyrighted date of 1878 in small print at the bottom as well as the words “Forbes Co. Boston.” Printed in 1878, these are among the oldest trade cards.

As is the case with most trade cards, these are fragile and printed on thinner card stock. For that reason, they can be torn or ripped quite easily and damaged easier than standard baseball cards.

Many trade cards were used by numerous companies. That is in part because it was easier to use artwork that was already produced rather than going through the trouble of creating your own. For that reason, the bottoms of the cards can be blank or include an advertisement for different companies.

Three Variations

A few different variations of these cards are known. Standard cards typically have the title printed at the top and a printed/stamped company name at the bottom. Others have the title of the card at the top but no name on the bottom or the reverse.

One unique thing about this issue is that the second type mentioned often has no company name printed on them but has the name ‘Edward P. Hutchinson.’ It is unknown if this was simply a collector who stamped his cards (as was common practice at that time) or if Mr. Hutchinson owned a legitimate business that he was advertising, as other companies did with these trade cards.

The third type of these cards that exist can be considered proofs of a sort. These have the same images but are missing captions at the top, the copyright date, and the ‘Forbes Co. Boston’ print at the bottom. They aren’t stock cards since stock cards were ones ready to be distributed, missing only a company name. These cards seem to either be proofs or possibly ones that were never fully completed. They are the rarest of the group and not easily found.

The three types are shown below.

1878 H804-6 Forbes Company Trade Cards Checklist

  1. A Fly
  2. Foul
  3. Home Run
  4. Judgment
  5. Muff
  6. Twist

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