‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||N690 Kalamazoo Bats / N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Cabinets
|Size||2 1/2″ x 4 ″ cards / 4 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ cabinets
|Type||19th Century Tobacco
|Number in Set
||62 cards / 39 cabinets
N690 / N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Overview
The 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats set included approximately 60 baseball players. A second set of larger cabinet photos mounted onto cardboard were also created (two types exist – one with a brown border and one with a black border) and are known as the N690-1 issue.
The card fronts were photographs affixed to a cardboard backing. While some of these cards have blank backs, some of the N690 backs include a detailed description of their redemption offer.
Below the player’s picture on the front was his name along with the message, “Smoke Kalamazoo Bats.” As with other similar issues, the images on the front have been prone to fading. There are 62 known cards in the set, although they are still being discovered. One, Bill Holbert, was just discovered in 2007.
Holders could redeem certain numbers of the cards for other prizes as described below.
- 15 cards for a cigar tube
- 25 cards for a match safe
- 50 cards for a pocket knife
- 100 cards for a nicer cigar tube
- 200 cards for a clock
- 400 cards for a silk umbrella.
The silk umbrella was the largest prize, valued at $5.00.
Redemptions could be part of the reason these cards are so rare. Cards were produced by Charles Gross and Company based out of Philadelphia. That many of the cabinets featured players from the Philadelphia Phillies, that makes sense given the manufacturer.
N690 / N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Checklist
Note that some sources confuse the two checklists.