1888 Raphael Tuck and Sons Tennis Die-Cuts Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Raphael Tuck and Sons Tennis Die-Cuts
Year 1888
Size Various
Images Color
Type Miscellaneous
Number in Set
8 (?)

1888 Raphael Tuck and Sons Tennis Die-Cuts Overview

These tennis die-cuts were issued by Raphael Tuck and Sons, a printer originating in the 19th century. While some collectors believe these are tobacco or candy cards, they really belong under the Y-Cards header of the American Card Catalog where author Jefferson Burdick grouped die-cuts and scraps.

These di-cuts are believed to originate in 1888 when Raphael Tuck and Sons issued their famous set of baseball die-cuts. In addition to this tennis set and the set of baseball die-cuts, Raphael Tuck and Sons also created sets for rugby, soccer, cricket, and potentially other sports. These cards are similar to others in the series, which basically have the same design — a color picture with subjects standing on top of a small green patch/field with a title at the bottom.

These cards picture generic subjects playing tennis, both male and female. While they are not as valuable, they are much rarer than the baseball die-cuts. Even many experienced pre-war collectors of tennis cards do not know this set exists.

The tennis die-cuts are more susceptible to damage than others as the rackets are attached with very thin pieces of card stock. Many of these cards have the rackets torn or removed entirely. Thus, ones with them fully attached should warrant a premium.

It is also believed that these images were used as the cutouts affixed to the N352 cards. Each die-cut included a color picture of a player in a various pose. Backs of the cutouts were completely blank.

Note that these can sometimes be called R&S Die-Cuts — R&S is an abbreviation of the Raphael Tuck and Sons name. The set is also sometimes spelled as ‘Rafael’ Tuck and Sons but the spelling is actually, “Raphael.”

Today, you will mostly find these cards separated and individually. However, they were initially printed with all players attached as one piece. Occasionally you can find them still attached but they will usually sell for a premium.

1888 Raphael Tuck and Sons Tennis Die-Cuts Checklist

Currently, I know of seven cards in this set. However, the other Tuck die-cut series’ all have even numbers of cards in them — sets of four, six, or ten. I believe this set includes at least eight cards or possibly as many as ten.

  1. Are You Ready
  2. Bravo
  3. A Careful Hit
  4. Neatly Done
  5. Quite Ready
  6. Stopping Balls
  7. Volleying

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