1881 Clay and Richmond Horse Racing Trade Cards Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Clay and Richmond Horse Racing Trade Cards
Year 1881
Size 3 3/16″ x 5 1/4″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set
12 (?)

1881 Clay and Richmond Horse Racing Trade Cards Overview

These trade cards featured race horses with the lithography performed by Clay & Richmond.

Fronts of the cards include color lithographic images while backs vary by advertiser. Some backs, including those for The Putnam Nail (a horseshoe nail company) were natural fits to advertise the cards. Their backs state that horse owners and drivers of note endorse their product as the best. But like other trade cards, these were issued with other advertisers and some are also out there without an advertiser and with blank backs instead.

The cards picture images of both race horses and trotting horses. Many, if not all, of the cards have a time and distance printed on them along with the horse’s name. Cards have the Clay & Richmond name on the front. Some have an 1881 copyright date while others, however, do not. I have designated this as an 1881 set but the years of production may have extended beyond that single year.

The cards are not terribly rare compared to other trade card issues. In fact, I would say they are among the more common horse racing trade cards that can be found. However, they can be difficult to track down as there is no formal title printed on them, they were issued by various advertisers, and they are rarely bought and sold by their Clay and Richmond name.

A final note on this set. Some collectors may designate these as the cards categorized as H81 through H117 in the American Card Catalog. The reason is for that is because many of these horses are ones featured on those cards. However, those were created by Currier & Ives and I believe those to be prints, not these smaller-sized cards. Additionally, a similar set appears to have been produced by Cosack & Clark. Those cards also feature some of the same horses and have times printed on the fronts.

1881 Clay and Richmond Horse Racing Trade Cards Checklist

Below are the cards I have seen to date. However, others may exist. Cards are not numbered and presented below in alphabetical order.

  1. Buffalo Girl
  2. Hopeful
  3. Jerome Eddy
  4. Hattie Woodward
  5. Luke Blackburn
  6. Mattie Hunter
  7. Maud S.
  8. Monroe Chief
  9. Parole
  10. Phallas
  11. St. Julien
  12. Trinket

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