1888 Bufford Roller Skating Baseball Trade Cards Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Bufford Roller Skating Baseball Trade Cards
Year 1888 (or 1883)
Size 2 5/8″ x 4 3/8″
Images Color
Type Trade
Number in Set

1888 Bufford Roller Skating Baseball Trade Cards Overview

baseball-roller-skating-trade-cards.jpgThis is a unique set of six trade cards. The cards featuring roller skating scenes of accidents or accidents waiting to happen.

The set is sought after by sports collectors because, while they do not feature baseball scenes, the titles of the cards are baseball terms. Because of that, these are generally classified as a baseball set.

For example, the card shown provides an illustration of this. In it, a roller skater is seen falling to the ground while another is already on the ground. The title of the image is called, ‘Short Stop’ — a play on words using the position of a shortstop in baseball.

Like most trade cards, these are printed on thinner paper material. That has led them to easily become damaged. Bufford and Sons, a common lithographer, performed the artwork for these. While they are printed in color, the colors (as found on other Bufford issues) are muted and pale. The dominant colors in the set are blues and oranges/browns. And like many other Bufford sets, there are six cards in this issue.

As trade cards, advertisers distributing them were from a variety of backgrounds. However, businesses or products related to roller skating widely used them. Some of the backs include advertisements for roller skating rinks or businesses offering roller skates.


The set is commonly referred to as an 1883 issue and a copyright date is provided on some of the cards. However, it is difficult to read as the print is small. The final digit on many examples of the cards appears to be either an 8 or a 3.

Having studied several of these with the dates, the final digit appears to be an 8 to me. Thus, I have dated the cards as such here. However, some may interpret the date as 1883.

1888 Bufford Roller Skating Baseball Trade Cards Checklist

  1. A Base Hit
  2. A Header
  3. A Mash
  4. Got Em Foul
  5. Oh! Don’t Let me Fall
  6. Short Stop

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