1893 Just So Tobacco Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Just So Tobacco
Year 1893
Size 2 1/2″ x 3 7/8″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

Just So Tobacco Overview

93JS Tebeau.jpg

93js-youngThe 1893 Just So Tobacco card set is one of the rarer issues of the 1800s. Cards were distributed (one per package) of Just So Tobacco products.

Picturing only players from the Cleveland Spiders, the issue has grown in popularity and remains incredibly difficult to find. For rookie card enthusiasts, the set has gained some notoriety as being the first known product with a Cy Young card.

Young’s card might be kind of tough to miss for collectors not too familiar with him. That’s because he’s named as D.T. Young instead of his more common name of Cy Young. But the D.T. stands for Denton True Young, which was actually his real name.

The card design is understated. In addition to the player’s image and name, the only other printing of any kind is a brief advertisement reading, “Chew or smoke Just So,” referring to the Just So brand tobacco products. Backs of these rare cards are entirely blank.

Advertising posters were also printed for the set. These shed a little light on the set but don’t give much more information. All 16 cards in the set are printed on it. The Chew or Smoke Just So Tobacco slogan appears at the top of the poster and the poster advertised that one of the cards would be distributed in every pack. Date of the set is also known from the poster, which states that the set was for the Cleveland Base Ball Club’s 1893 season.

Pifer & Becker Link

The images appear to have been the work of Pifer & Becker, a Cleveland photography studio. We know this from cabinet photos for the company that bear the same pictures as the ones found in the Just So set.

These cabinets are rare, but do surface from time to time. An autographed Young example fetched $120,000 in a 2017 Heritage auction.

A number of these cabinets were also featured in a 2018 SCP auction.

Davis vs. Davies

Collectors pursuing these cards should be aware of a unique checklisting situation. Hall of Famer George Davis played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1890-92. However, the Spiders also had a player with a similar name, pitcher George Davies.

Davies played for the club in 1892-93 and is the player featured in this set. Any references to the Hall of Fame Davis being included here are incorrect. Davis was no longer playing for the Spiders when the set was produced.

Just So Tobacco Checklist

A complete checklist is yet to be fully confirmed. A Buck Ewing card was recently discovered only a few years ago in the walls of a house so potential other subjects not yet found could still exist. But given the fact that only 16 cards were featured on the poster, this appears to be a complete checklist.

At the time of its discovery, the Ewing card fetched nearly $20,000.

  1. F.W. Boyd
  2. Jesse Burkett
  3. C.L. Childs
  4. John Clarkson
  5. J. O’Connor
  6. G. Cuppy
  7. G.W. Davies
  8. Buck Ewing
  9. C.M. Hastings
  10. McAleer
  11. E.J. McKean
  12. Captain Tebeau
  13. J.K. Virtue
  14. T.C. Williams
  15. Cy Young
  16. C.L. Zimmer

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