R873 Football Trade Cards Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title R873 Football Trade Cards
Year Unknown
Size 3″ x 5″
Images Color
Type Trade
Number in Set
4 (?)

R873 Football Trade Cards Overview

R873 Football Trade Card - Running Through the Centre (1880s-1890s)R873 Football Trade Card - Heroes and Hero Worship(1880s-1890s).jpgThe R873 football trade cards are some of the earliest depictions of the sport. An exact date of production isn’t known but these cards are believed to have been printed in the late 1800s.

The cards feature a rough game of football with a red and white striped team facing off against a team with gray uniforms. The scenes depict a rough sport.

One card, Running through the Centre, shows a ball carrier running head on into a defender, who has suffered a bloody nose and missing tooth in the process. A second card titled ‘Heroes and Hero Worship’ features teammates standing on the sidelines with crutches and bandages covering their eyes. A third features three boys piling onto a ball with someone scoring an apparent touchdown. I found the third one in the summer of 2018 and I’ve since seen a fourth on eBay.

No real print exists on the cards other than the various advertisements printed on them. Because they are trade cards, these were used for a numerous businesses that printed their advertisements either at the bottom or on the backs. I have coined this set as ‘R873’ because that is the small print next to the pictures. The ‘R’, as it is found on other types of trade cards, is found inside of a triangle.

As is the case with other trade issues, these cards were used by a variety of vendors, each stamping or printing their own name onto them.

R873 Football Trade Cards Checklist

To date, the only four cards I have seen in this set are:

  1. A Touch Down. Rah! Rah! Rah!
  2. Heroes and Hero Worship
  3. Pride of the College
  4. Running through the Centre

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