‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||T88 Mutt and Jeff
|Size||1 1/2″ x 2 7/8″
|Images||Black and White|
|Number in Set
1900s T88 Mutt and Jeff Overview
The T88 Mutt and Jeff set was a collection of comical cartoon trading cards. Similar to other tobacco cards such as T206, you can find these with a variety of backs on them. So while 350 cards are available, there could be well over 1,000 different cards.
Mutt and Jeff was a popular comic series that ran from 1907 to 1983. These cards were distributed for a variety of tobacco brands.
Technically, there are 100 different designs in the set but there are four types and there are black and white and color versions of each card. Each card has a caption printed at the bottom. Backs of the cards state they were illustrated by five men (Bud Fisher, T.E. Powers, R.L. Goldberg, Tad, and Gus Mager). It also adds, ‘Etc., Etc.’ so others could have created to the pictures and phrases. The back also advertises more than 250 designs.
Currently 200 designs are believed to exist (if you count both the black and white and the color variations, which used the same drawings) but some of the Types included skip numbering so it is possible that more were expected to be added.
Per Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog, each type has 100 cards, save for Type 2, which has 50. The four types are below.
- Type 1: 100 black and white cards
- Type 2: 50 black and white ‘novelty’ (Burdick’s word) cards (same numbering as 1-50 from Type 1)
- Type 3: 100 black and white cards – same designs as Type 1 but different numbering and also skip numbered
- Type 4: 100 color cards – same as Type 3 but in color
Regarding the backs, there are five known ones.
- Sweet Caporal Cigarettes with artists named
- Sovereign Cigarettes with artists named
- Silko Cigarettes with artists named
- Sweet Caporal/Derby/Sovereign names all listed with instructions
- Sweet Caporal/Derby/Sovereign names all listed with instructions and the Hall Process name at the bottom
Regarding those last two, it appears that some of the cards would display certain unseen images. Directions were included that stated to rub the point of a lead pencil or a silver coin over the face of the card on the opposite side to see what would appear. Those backs are both rarer than the first three listed and back No. 5 with the Hall Process is the rarest. As such, they usually command a premium.
Baseball and Boxing … and a Key Variation
Most of the cards are non-sports cards, but there are a few baseball and boxing cards. In terms of baseball, there are two featuring a batter and catcher. The batter has a New York Giants or Higlanders logo and is saying, ‘Shoot one over, kid,’ asking for a pitch. The card’s caption at the bottom says, ‘Let’s see what you’ve got.”
The second baseball card features a catcher and has two variations. The black and white version has a catcher with a Cubs logo, saying, ‘Oh you Cubs.’ The color variation, however, has the Cubs logo removed. The phrase is also changed to ‘Gimme a High Ball.’
It is not known why the phrase changed and the logo removed but it could have been a legal issue where the artists decided they shouldn’t keep the Cubs logo and name without permission. Interestingly, the New York logo remains on both the black and white and color version of the card featuring a batter. But because the New York team name wasn’t in the phrase on the card, perhaps they deemed it less troublesome. Here’s more on this variation.
A third semi-baseball card is also included in the set. In the picture, a woman named Joy is hitting a man named Gloom with a baseball bat. The caption on that card is, ‘Gloom Beat it.’
Finally, the last sports card included depicts boxing. On a card titled, ‘I got cha Steve’, a larger man wearing boxing gloves and shorts has another man wearing gloves in a headlock.
1900s T88 Mutt and Jeff Checklist
I have listed the eight sports cards below. You can see pictures of the set, including non-sports ones, here.
No. 13 – Oh, You Cubs (Baseball/Black and White)
No. 14 – Let’s See What You’ve Got (Baseball/Black and White)
No. 42 – I Got Cha Steve (Boxing/Black and White)
No. 44 – Gloom Beat It (Semi-Baseball/Color)
No. 66 – Gloom Beat It (Semi-Baseball/Black and White)
No. 112 – Let’s See What You’ve Got (Baseball/Color)
No. 113 – Gimme A High Ball (Baseball/Color)
Unknown Number – I Got Cha Steve (Boxing/Color)