It’s In The Details’
|Title||Russell’s Rustlers Base-Ball Boys Playing Cards
|Year||1906 or 1910
|Size||2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
|Number in Set
1906/1910 Russell’s Rustlers Base-Ball Boys Playing Cards Overview
Based in Milltown, New Jersey, the Willis Russell Card Company produced sets of playing cards in the early 1900s. Cards were standard playing cards and not a specific baseball game as other issues. However, on the backs, they had pictures of baseball players in various poses.
Six different poses are available, including a pitcher and five different fielders. The cards can be found in either a blue color tint or a red one. All cards have a dark blue or red border surrounding the player. The players used in the poses are unknown. In addition to the poses, a special black and white image of a player is used as the Joker card.
In addition to the regular playing cards, sample schedule cards are known as well. Listing the price of $3.00 per dozen, these could have been given to store owners. The samples cite the six poses that were available. The sample cards utilize the same poses as found in the regular decks, but instead of a playing card (i.e. Ace of Hearts), the backs list the Cleveland Naps’ 1910 schedule.
Incidentally, the sample cards have led to some confusion on the date. While the copyright states the cards were copyrighted in 1906, it is unclear if they were issued in that year. The sample schedule cards have are for the 1910 season. It is possible that a set of cards was printed in 1906 and the company then printed the schedule cards to continue to promote the set a few years later. It should be noted that other gaming issues had earlier copyright dates but later production times so that wasn’t uncommon.
Finally, Russell’s didn’t limit their cards to only baseball players. The company created sets with other subjects on them, such as Native Americans. Others merely had standard playing card designs instead.
1906/1910 Russell’s Rustlers Base-Ball Boys Playing Cards Checklist
The checklist is simply made up of a regular deck of playing cards with four suits of cards being issued from Ace through King.