Speed Champions Set (T228) and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Speed Champions
Year 1900s
Size 1 7/8″ x 4 1/8″
Images Sepia
Type Tobacco
Number in Set

Speed Champions (T228) Overview

This rare set consists of only five cards but they are nearly impossible to find.

Dubbed ‘Speed Champions,’ the cards have a focus on machinery. The lone card not in that category is one of a racing horse, Uhlan. Other cards feature what are identified as the fastest boat, automobile, train, and airplane.

The cards were distributed by two different brands of Cuban tobacco products — Depew’s Cigars and Mendel’s Cigars. Despite the fact they were Cuban cigars, both Depew and Mendel were New York-based companies.

Two of the cards do not have named subjects — cards for the automobile and the train. The most popular of the cards is surely one featuring the Wright Brothers’ airplane, in part, because their name appears on the card (as Wright Bro’s). But all cards in the set are extremely rare and desirable as type cards, sought after by collectors who merely wish to have an example.

The cards look like what you might find on the back of a playing card. There is a sepia drawing of the subject inside of an oval and with a dark green background. The back of the card contains an advertisement for either Mendel’s or Depew’s. They are larger in size, slightly over 4″ tall.

The cards rarely appear for sale. The Dixie Motor Boat card was recently offered in an auction but I have seen no others for sale.

Speed Champions (T228) Checklist

  1. Dixie – The Fastest Motor Boat
  2. The Fastest Automobile
  3. The Fastest Steam Railroad Train
  4. Uhlan – The Fastest Trotter
  5. Wright Brothers Biplane – The Fastest Aeroplane

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