Bufford Winter Scenes Trade Cards (903)
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||Bufford Winter Scenes Trade Cards|
|Year||circa 1870s or 1880s|
|Size||2 11/16″ x 4 1/2″
|Number in Set
Bufford Winter Scenes Trade Cards (903) Overview
This card is one of the many issues produced by Bufford, a famous lithographer. Bufford also produced another popular set that included a hockey trade card – Hockey on the Ice.
While the card of a young hockey player (shown here) is often believed to be a standalone card, it is actually part of a set. Shown here are the four cards I have seen to date.
This issue features a young boy dressed in winter clothing with a snowball and a hockey stick. The Bufford name is printed in the snow on the ground and the card is identifiable by a small number ‘903’ to the left side. Trade cards often included small identifying numbers and letters on them and that is the case here.
The exact date of the cards is unknown but estimated to be from the 1870s or 1880s.
As trade cards, these were printed on thinner, light cardboard stock, making them fragile and highly susceptible to damage.
In addition, as is the case with most trade cards, advertisements are placed in a variety of areas on these. Most are on the back but advertisements and business names are sometimes on the fronts instead.
Hockey Card Variation
A little-known variation of the card exists.
The card is nearly identical to the one in this set. However, it is a holiday-themed card instead.
The boy is seen wearing the same exact outfit as the one in this set. A slight difference can be seen with the colors not as bright. In particular, the boy’s socks on the variation are a dark red color. But essentially, the outfit is the same, as is the rest of the scenery and the background.
The primary difference is that the hockey stick is in reverse with the blade of the stick in front of the boy rather than behind him. That was likely done because pine branches were added to the back end of the stick, creating more of a holiday look. This card also includes a border whereas the other one does not. The back of the card is blank.
This little-known variant is significantly rarer than the standard Bufford trade card. It should also be pointed out that the variant does not include the Bufford name or the standard 903 number.
It is not known if the rest of the cards can be found with similar variants.
Another variation for the hockey card surfaced in 2022. It was the first instance of the variant that I had seen.
This time, the card is a die-cut card. It uses the same picture as the hockey player found on the standard cards. However, the Bufford name and the ‘903’ print is missing.
The card has the necessary lines around the edge of the boy so that the background can be removed. The back of the card, show is shown here.
It is unclear how many of the die-cuts remain in circulation. But given that I have seen only this one compared to the dozens of regular cards, it is easy to see that they are considerably rarer.
A final note is that I have not seen die-cuts of the other cards in this set. Given that the hockey card is part of a four-card series, however, it seems likely that those cards would have die-cut variations, too.
Bufford Winter Scenes Trade Cards (903) Checklist
- Boy with Brown Coat
- Boy with Hockey Stick
- Girl with Green Coat
- Girl with Red Coat