1936 United Tobacco Sports and Pastimes in South Africa Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title United Tobacco Sports and Pastimes in South Africa
Year 1936
Size 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set

United Tobacco Sports and Pastimes in South Africa Overview

1 - Golf131936 United Tobacco WrestlingThe 1936 United Tobacco Sports and Pastimes set includes a look at various sports and games in South Africa. One such sport included in the release was a baseball card (Card No. 18 in the set).

Cards featured color images on the front and a description of the sport in question on the back. Pictures of the cards were designed by Cape Times Limited and that company also printed them.

The set is known as the United Tobacco set as it was issued by the United Tobacco Companies, Ltd. in Cape Town. But the cards were actually packaged inside of boxes of Springbok Cigarettes, a specific brand in South America.

Most sports in the set are featured more than one card. Sometimes a men’s version and a women’s version was included. Other times, a professional and amateur received their own cards. And in track and field, there were numerous cards covering a variety of events. The most popular sports are baseball, boxing, tennis, golf, soccer, wrestling, and track and field.


While the set likely intended to feature actual athletes, it is often difficult to determine which ones are pictured on the cards.

The set often presented names of athletes on the backs of the cards. However, each card often names numerous athletes so it is difficult to determine which one is pictured.

Some, however, are easy to spot. One is card No. 50 that features cross country/distance runner Paavo Nurmi. While the set features South African athletes, the card notes that there was no recognized cross country champion at the time of issue. Nurmi’s name is the only one cited and the card can be considered to likely be a Nurmi issue.


1935 Springbok Cigarettes 18 South Africa Baseball.jpg

The baseball card featured a batting scene. A player stood at the plate in a batter’s box wearing a red uniform and white cap. Behind him, part of the catcher is shown.

The back has the following description:

“Baseball became firmly established in this country in 1934 when a S.A. Board was formed. In Transvaal and Natal it had been a week-end recreation, but in 1933, Province inaugurated a Saturday League and entered the inter-centre series.

Since 1931, Transvaal has beaten Natal 9 times; lost 2. Transvaal has beaten Province 3 times; lost once. Natal has won 2 and lost 3 against Province. Baseball is now a summer Saturday game throughout the Union.”

Three teams are noted in the description on the back so it is likely that the player depicted on the front is a member of one of those teams. His identity, however, remains unknown.

No cards from the set are all that easy to find here in the U.S. and that includes the baseball card. To date PSA has graded only a little more than 50 total cards in the set and only five of the baseball cards. The baseball card is easily the most in demand by American collectors (for example, the five that PSA has graded are the most of any card graded by the company in the entire set).

United Tobacco Sports and Pastimes in South Africa Checklist

  1. Golf
  2. Golf
  3. Tennis
  4. Tennis
  5. Rugby
  6. Rugby
  7. Soccer
  8. Sea Fishing
  9. River Fishing
  10. Bowls (two men shown)
  11. Bowls (one man shown)
  12. Boxing
  13. Boxing
  14. Wrestling
  15. Wrestling
  16. Field Hockey
  17. Field Hockey
  18. Baseball
  19. Swimming
  20. Swimming
  21. Swimming
  22. Billiards
  23. Motorcar Racing
  24. Motorcycle Racing
  25. Cycling
  26. Rifle Shooting
  27. Cricket
  28. Cricket
  29. Horse Racing
  30. Horse Racing
  31. Horse Racing
  32. Badminton
  33. Flying
  34. Flying
  35. Running
  36. Running
  37. Running
  38. Hurdles
  39. Shot Put (Putting the Shot)
  40. Pole Jumping
  41. Discus Throwing
  42. Javelin Throwing
  43. Hammer Throw
  44. Long Jump
  45. High Jump
  46. High Jump
  47. Relay Race
  48. 100-Mile Race
  49. Marathon
  50. Cross-Country Racing
  51. Diving
  52. Water Polo

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