1889 Duke’s Terrors of America Set (N88)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Duke’s Cigarettes Terrors of America (N88)
Year 1889
Size 1 1/2″ x 2 3/4″
Images Color
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

1889 Duke’s Cigarettes Terrors of America (N88) Overview

N88 Terrors of America - The Catcher (1888)

The PitcherThe 1889 N88 Duke’s Cigarettes Terrors of America includes both sports and non-sports cards. Included in the set is a handful of baseball-themed cards.

The cards depict a number of boys in different situations. There are full color images on the fronts and the backs include a complete checklist of the entire set. Pictures were designed by Knapp and Company based out of New York. The backs also state that the cards were “Packed in Duke’s Cigarettes.”

Dating for the set is all over the place. Some catalog this as an 1888 set. Others say it is from 1889 or 1890. 1889 seems to be the most common designation but may not be correct.

A larger, jumbo set of these cards was also produced with the N136 set. Those cards have the Honest Long Cut name on the back as opposed to Duke’s Cigarettes. While the cards have the same pictures, they should not be confused as N88 cards.

Boys are nameless and the images are generic. Still, despite that, these cards are still sought after by pre-war baseball card collectors.

Titles are printed on each of the cards in various places. Most are at the bottom and they are printed in blue, red, or black ink.

Duke’s Mixture Variation

While most cards of these cards seen measure about 1 1/2″ x 2 3/4″, a slightly larger variation is known. The larger sized cards measure about 3″ and are about 1 3/4″ wide. Some of the cards have a light green or a decorative red border.

The larger cards are rare and, as a result, more valuable. As stated here, the standard cards were packed in Duke’s Cigarettes packages with the larger ones being distributed in Duke’s Mixture Brand. That is evident because the backs have the Duke’s Mixture Brand name printed at the bottom instead of the Duke’s Cigarettes name that exists on the others.

These cards have the same pictures as the other more common version so it can be difficult to tell them apart. If you are ever confused as to which version is which, look on the back.

Also note that the border can cause some confusion. The cards pictured in the album, which are sometimes cut out (more on that in a bit) have a three-dimensional look and a shadowy green border on some sides. Those, however, are blank-backed. The authentic larger variation of the regular N88 cards will have the aforementioned Duke’s Mixture Brand name.


Out in Left Field

Ain't She a BeautyIn all, nine of the 50 cards (nearly 1/5 of the set) are linked to baseball. Baseball cards include (in order of appearance on the checklist on the back and listed below):

1. The Umpire
2. The Pitcher
3. Foot Ball
5. The Catcher
27. Ain’t She a Beauty
43. Out in Left Field
44. Say! Stop the game. Me galluses is gone wrong.
46. Out on First
47. The Boss Short Stop

Card No. 44 depicts a boy asking for the game to be stopped. While the type of game is initially in question, another boy looks to be in either a fielding or baserunning stance. That is actually the best evidence for this being a baseball card as a virtually identical drawing of a player in the background is included on Card No. 1 The Umpire – a definite baseball card. In addition, the main subject on the card is wearing a baseball cap. And considering that baseball has such a prominent role in the set, the game in question would appear to be that one.

Another card of note here is No. 3 – Foot Ball. One interesting fact is that while sometimes classified as having a football card, that is not really the case. In the picture, a boy is seen clutching his shin in pain. Some collectors, without having seen the card, have jumped to conclusion and assumed that the card is an early football card. However, it is more than likely linked to the sport of baseball. A small ball has struck the boy’s shin and, in the background, two boys appear to be standing by a base.

In all, there are nine cards here related to the sport of baseball.

Young America Proof Sheets

N88 Proof Sheet Duke Terrors of AmericaProof sheets for this set or a similar one are also known.

These sheets each include ten of the N88 cards on them. However, it is unknown if they are proofs for this set or were supposed to be for an entirely different set.

Reason for the lack of clarification is found on the sheets, which titles them ‘Young America’ set. The sheets are blank-backed and not affiliated with a tobacco manufacturer.

My guess is that, because the cards had the same design with the same titles, Young America simply could have been a name that was a possibility for this set before the Terrors of America name was selected. However, several pre-war sets shared images and it is certainly possible that these were intended to be a different issue.

These sheets very much remain a mystery of sorts.

Album Cuts

N88 Duke Terrors AlbumFinally, like other 19th Century tobacco issues, an accompanying album was produced for this set. The album is cataloged as A33. In it, pictures of all 50 cards were included.

Some collectors would cut those pictures out and keep them as actual cards. While album cuts do have some value, they are not as valuable as the regular cards.

One distinguishing characteristic of the album cards is that they have a three-dimensional look with a greenish shadow emerging from some sides. This is seen on the card on the cover of the picture on the album as you can see it on the bottom and to the right. If cards are trimmed from the book, some may exhibit a part of that if not cut to entirely remove it.

Thus, if you see individual cards out there with a light greenish border on some sides and they are blank-backed/thinner, assuming they do not have skinned backs (remember, some, if not all, of the Duke’s Mixture cards have the greenish borders) you know they were cut from these albums and were not the cards distributed in cigarette packs.

1889 Duke’s Cigarettes Terrors of America (N88) Checklist

Here is a checklist of the entire set. Note that the final card, Thanksgiving Day, is not listed on the N88 backs and only 49 cards appear in that listing. Baseball cards are in bold below.

  1. The Umpire (Boy serving as umpire calling a ‘ball.’
  2. The Pitcher (Boy preparing to throw ball)
  3. Foot Ball (Boy struck by ball in shin)
  4. A Stunt
  5. The Catcher (Boy playing the position of catcher)
  6. Swimming
  7. Kite Time
  8. Snow Balling
  9. The Figure Eight
  10. Election Night
  11. Pot a Boilin
  12. Big Bite
  13. Hide and Seek
  14. Save the Core
  15. The Dude
  16. A Turkish Bath
  17. Wid me one Hand
  18. What a Find
  19. Before Election
  20. Tug of War
  21. Fishing
  22. Watch me hit him
  23. Line up back there
  24. The Boss Fighter
  25. Playing Nurse
  26. Brick in Hat
  27. Ain’t she a beauty (boy with bat)
  28. Extra! Extra!
  29. Rabbit Hunter
  30. Please come home
  31. Maud S
  32. Spread the Eagle
  33. Hit a feller yer size
  34. Knuckle down
  35. Get off there
  36. In the First Class
  37. Leap Frog
  38. Let her go slow
  39. De Boss of de Gang
  40. Boss Whistler
  41. Tappy-on-the-Window
  42. My New Duds
  43. Out in Left Field
  44. Say! Stop the game. Me Galluses is gone wrong (Boy asking for game to be stopped)
  45. Playing Buffalo Bill
  46. Out on first (Boy playing position of first base)
  47. The Boss Short Stop (Boy hit with baseball)
  48. I didn’t steal no apples
  49. Clean it for a quarter
  50. Thanksgiving Day

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