Stollwerck Chocolate Trade Cards
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||Stollwerck Trade Cards|
|Size||1 7/8″ x 3 5/8″
|Number in Set
Stollwerck Trade Cards Overview
Stollwerck Gold Chocolate was a chocolate brand in Germany. The company produced a set of non-sports and sports cards, starting in the late 1800s. Numerous cards and designs were used over a series of different subsets. Stollwerck is still in existence today. They were founded in 1839 and approaching 200 years of business. The company is named for founder Franz Stollwerck, who initially began by producing ‘cough sweets,’ according to their website. Chocolate making came about in 1860.
Stollwerck cards are generally believed to have begun in production in the late 1800s with the first sets issued in or around 1897. An abundance of these cards were made around that time and the bulk of them offered today seem to be from the late 1800s through early 1900s. While the cards have been produced into the late 1900s, there have been many breaks in between. The majority of Stollwerck cards were printed in the pre-war era. In all, there are believed to be more than 5,000 different Stollwerck cards in existence.
Cards were generally issued in small 6-card sets. Stollwerck also produced albums that were numbered and held many of these sets inside.
Among their cards were several sports issues, including ice hockey, tennis, golf, track and field, and others. The hockey cards are generally the most desirable but plenty of others have some value as well – particularly golf and tennis where there are a significant number of international collectors.
In addition, the set includes plenty of non-sports subjects that are well known. The biggest names can certainly fetch prices that are even higher than the sports cards. Subjects run the gamut with musicians, rulers and politicians, scientists, artists, and more. And across the vast landscape, there are plenty of extremely popular figures, such as George Washington, Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Isaac Newton, Rafael, and a ton more.
Beyond those subjects, Stollwerck cards feature all types of things. Animals, for one thing, are a big part of the series’. So are things like buildings, landscapes, ships, places, and plants. Even cards of statistics. And then there are a whole slew of subjects that are not real people. Those really include all sorts of things with an emphasis on children. But there are plenty of generic adult subjects as well, including soldiers, knights, sailors, and a whole slew of characters.
As an international set at a time when baseball was not the global sport it is today, expecting to see that sport represented would be a big of a surprise. But while no real baseball players or even depictions are included, the sport is sometimes thought to be represented on a unique equipment card.
Baseball is sometimes thought to be vaguely represented through an equipment card that features various balls and equipment in different sports. However, what appears to be a baseball is actually a tennis ball. The ball that looks like a baseball is next to a tennis racket and is grouped along with it as Item No. 6. That is confirmed on the back of the card.
The cards are almost always colorful and generally have back advertisements written in German. A variety of designs were used, although most include the Stollwerck name somewhere on the front.
Shown here are an assortment of Stollwerck cards to show the diversity between the sets — in the fronts and the backs.
The backs, as you can see, varied, too. And what’s notable is that, even in the same six-card set, the backs were not always uniform. Some cards with the same Gruppe (group/set) number surprisingly have different back designs.
Stollwerck Chocolate Cards Checklist
With thousands of cards and not any great recognized source for cataloging them that I have seen, it is difficult to identify the known sports issues. In addition, some of the 6-card sets are mostly non-sports but may include a sports card or two.
Below is the list of known Stollwerck sets that are entirely sports issues:
- Set 43 – Sportbilder (1899)
- Set 45 – Sports
- Set 47 – Women in Sports (1899)
- Set 58 – Sportbilder
- Set 119 – Sports
- Set 124 – Sailing
- Set 180 – Sportbilder
- Set 485 – Tennis
- Set 498 – Roller Skating (1911)
- Set 560 – Children in Sports
- Set 561 – Gymnastics/Track and Field
- Set 562 – Gymnastics/Track and Field
- Set 563 – Gymnastics/Track and Field
- Set 564 – Sport (1913)
- Set 565 – Sport (1913)
- Set 566 – Sport (1913)
- Set 567 – Wintersport