1923 Sarony Origin of Games Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Sarony Origin of Games
Year 1923
Size 1 3/8″ x 2 11/16″
Images Color
Type Tobaco
Number in Set

1923 Sarony Origin of Games Overview

The Nicolas Sarony & Company produced this 15-card set in 1923. The issue provides an up-close look of various sports and their origins.

Sarony was an English candycigarette company based in London and this was one of many multi-sport sets created overseas. This set, however, is significantly smaller than many. While 50 cards was a pretty common number in other similar types of sets, this one has only 15. Sarony also produced other sports issues, including a tennis set, also printed in 1923.

The cards are a pretty standard size compared to other tobacco and candy cards from around the same time period. The images are printed in full color with the backs being printed in brown ink. Backs include a description of the sport being depicted as well as a card number.

The cards have white borders surrounding the pictures and each has a caption on the front that is printed in black ink.

Baseball, Football, and Hockey … Sort of

Sarony Games - Baseball (1923)The set includes many famous sports but the highlight is, by far, a card depicting early baseball. The sport featured is the English sport of ‘Rounders’, which is seen by most as a precursor of baseball. That is, in fact, what the card says with this description on the back:

“The very popular and inexpensive game of Rounders was, so far as can be ascertained, first played in England in the Eighteenth century. It still retains its popularity but only as a juvenile pastime. Baseball, which started in the United States of America some fifty years back, and is now the great national game in that country, was a development of the game of Rounders.”

Rounders and baseball do have some differences but the similarities are striking. That is evident by the scene on the card, which shows a batter aiming to hit a ball. Here’s a closer look at the Rounders/Baseball card.

In addition, football and hockey are here as well but not in terms of the American sports we know.

Football, of course, is a representation of what we call soccer. 14th Century action for that sport is pictured with Polynesians, Philippine Islanders, and Eskimos listed as among the earliest to play it.

The hockey card features field hockey, not ice hockey. The field hockey card shown here depicts Roman soldiers playing the sport.

Other sports here will be famous to American card collectors. The most prominent beyond the baseball card are likely the cards featuring tennis and golf. Others, in general, are less desirable. Some, even, are sports that will be unfamiliar to American collectors.


1923 Sarony Large Variation Baseball Rounders

1923 Sarony Origin of Games GolfIn addition to the smaller, standard sized cards, a variation of this set exists. Larger cards that are more square in shape and that more closely resemble today’s sports cards were also printed.

These utilize the same pictures, checklist, and descriptions as in the standard set. But the larger cards are much more difficult to find. Both types are rare and hard to find. However, the larger Sarony cards are much more scarce.

The cards are not only different in size but most have slight variations to the picture as well. Most often, the colors are slightly different from the smaller cards. However, some have slightly more significant changes. For example, on the Rounders/Baseball card, the batter on the small card has a stoic face. But on the larger card, his mouth was changed to show a visible smile.

Other similar minor differences exist on other cards as well.

1923 Sarony Origin of Games Checklist

  1. Chess
  2. Tennis
  3. Cricket
  4. Golf
  5. Bowls
  6. Draughts
  7. Curling
  8. Badminton
  9. Billiards
  10. Football
  11. Rounders
  12. Cards
  13. Ping-Pong
  14. Hockey
  15. Marbles

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