1888 Kinney Running Horses Album (A57)

1888 Kinney Running Horses Album (A57)

Kinney Brothers was a popular tobacco brand that issued several sets of horse racing cards in the late 1800s. In addition to issuing cigarette cards, the company offered a special premium item to collectors. In exchange for 100 of their cigarette cards, a collector could receive one of these albums. The cards could be taken from any one of three Kinney horse racing sets, known today as the N229 Famous Running Horses (American horses), N230 Famous Running Horses (English horses), or the N231 Great American Trotters sets.

Like many 19th century tobacco issues, an accompanying album was printed as a premium item. The album included pictures of Kinney’s cards. The album is also listed in the American Card Catalog and is designated as A57.

The albums are fairly rare and include a series of loose pages held together with a string. Because the albums were not formally bound, it is fairly common to see individual pages as opposed to a complete album.

Part of the reason few albums may have been secured is because Kinney also offered another promotional option. For 25 cards instead, a collector could receive an 8X10 or 10X12 print of a horse. That easier option may have been preferable as opposed to trying to save up 100 cards for the album.

A dating issue exists with this album and the three sets associated with it. However, the company’s other premium items, the large photos, have an 1888 copyright date on them. For that reason, I have tentatively assigned that date to this album.

Cut Cards

The albums come up for sale on occasion but are rare. They can be found as complete albums, in individual pages, or sometimes the individual cards on each page have been cut out.

Cut out cards do hold some value but are not as valuable as the actual cards that were included in packs of cigarettes or other tobacco products. The cards in the album do not include the checklist that appeared on the backs of many of the regular cards that came with the cigarettes. However, the images of the jockeys remained the same.

These albums were clearly used by collectors for different purposes. Some collectors, as mentioned, cut the cards out, preferring to have individual cards instead of the album. Others affixed their own regular cards to the album over top of the pictures on the pages as a way to store their original cards. Because of that, you will sometimes find cards that were glued to album pages, and subsequently removed, with damaged backs.

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