1880s Bufford Ice Skating Trade Card Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Bufford Ice Skating Trade Cards
Year 1880s
Size 3 3/8″ x 5 1/16″
Images Color
Type Trade Card
Number in Set
2 (?)

Bufford Ice Skating Trade Cards Overview

Atlantic and Pacific Tea Hockey Trade Card.jpgOne of the earliest and most popular recognized hockey cards comes from this Bufford trade card set.

The famous hockey card shown here is often believed to be a standalone issue. However, it belongs to a set with at least two cards in it.Lithography for the card was provided by Bufford, a popular company that created the artwork for numerous trade cards in the 1800s.

Both cards include a small number 317 or 817 in one of the corners, as well as the Bufford name. A smudge on the first digit makes determining the exact number difficult. Both cards have color illustrations of ice skaters – one shows an ice hockey scene while the other pictures a pig on the ice pulling an ice skater. The latter is scene less frequently but the ice hockey card is generally considered to be the more valuable, often selling in the $100-$200 range.

Regarding the hockey card, the color picture on the front of the cards shows several men playing a game of ice hockey. Collectors will notice the use of a ball instead of a puck and that is because early forms of the sport and variations of it used a ball instead of a puck. Despite that, it is generally considered to be a hockey card by most.

I have not seen an exact date for these trade cards but they were possibly issued over several years. Most dates of them that I have seen referenced are from the late 1880s.

Naming Confusion

It should be noted that the hockey card is commonly called the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company card (as most I have seen have borne that name on the front). However, other variants of the card exist with no name on the front and with different advertisements on the back. At least one variety includes an advertisement for Dr. Hartshorn’s cough balsam, though others may exist, too.

Collectors looking for that card specifically may have better luck searching for the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company card as opposed to a more generic Bufford listing, even if that is technically correct as the cards were issued with more than one advertiser.

Bufford Ice Skating Trade Card Checklist

I know of two cards in this issue though it is possible that others actually exist.

  1. Ice Hockey
  2. Pig Pulling Skater

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