1888-89 N173 Old Judge Cabinets Set and Checklist
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||N173 Old Judge Cabinets
|Size||4 1/4″ x 6 1/2″
|Type||19th Century Tobacco
|Number in Set
N173 Old Judge Cabinets Overview
In 1886, Old Judge Cigarettes produced a small set (N167) that is among the scarcest pre-war card collectibles around. They followed that up with quite possibly the largest pre-war card issue ever created in the N172 Old Judge set. The N173 set is a larger cabinet card version of the N172 cards. These are photographs that have been mounted to a backing.
The N172 set is so large, in fact, that new cards are still being discovered. Not only do hundreds of cards exist, but the set reaches over 1,000 when one considers all of the different poses known. For this reason, while worthy checklists have been assembled, it is likely that none will every be completely confirmed. Just as the N172 checklist is large and a bit unknown, that rule applies to the N173 set as well.
It may be even harder to determine which N173 cabinet cards exist since they were premium giveaways to collectors in exchange for coupons. While certain N173 cards have been confirmed, it is likely that we will never know the full known checklist is 100% accurate. Checklists of the set do, in fact, exist, showing a total of 374 cards that were available. These printed lists were made available by Old Judge allowing collectors to see which players were available. However, it is not clear if every player in the checklist would have been requested — thus, some that were available may never have been distributed.
As is the case with the N172 cards, a big problem with the N173 cabinets is fading of the images. Some issues, particularly those exposed to light, have become barely recognizable by collectors unfamiliar with them. This makes for a premium on cards that have sharp, clear pictures.
It should be noted that while most N173 cabinets have a yellow-colored mount, some with other colors are known, too, including black, pink, and red. Why the varying colors exist or why some colors are rarer than others is not entirely known. But cabinets with these different colored mounts can sell for a premium.
Trade Card Tie In
At least one trade card was issued to help promote the distribution of these cards. Old Judge certainly had many other trade cards but these are sought after by collectors as they include an advertisement for these baseball cabinets on the back.
The trade card was called, ‘An Interesting Interview’ and showed a boy going to a tobacco store to buy cigarettes for his apparent father. Instead, he buys the wrong brand (not Old Judge, obviously) and gets whipped with a stick when he returns home.
The back of the 1888 card includes an add for these Old Judge cabinets. It states that a cabinet could be received for 25 coupons that came in Old Judge Cigarettes.
N173 Old Judge Cabinets Checklist
This is the checklist of all 374 players that were available. However, it is not known if all of these were ever distributed. This checklist is presented in order of appearance on Old Judge’s printed checklists.
- Van Haltren
- Ewing and Mascot
- Wood (George)
- Wood (Pete)
- Clark and Hughes
- Fullmer and Tucker
- Nicol and Reilly