1881 George Hayes Duotone Trade Cards Set and Checklist
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||George Hayes Duotone Trade Cards
|Size||3″ x 4 1/2″
|Number in Set
1881 George Hayes Duotone Trade Cards Overview
This unique trade card set was copyrighted to 1881. All of the cards in the set bear the name George Hayes, crediting him as the apparent lithographer.
The trade cards have a thin white border and are distinguished by their use of only two colors. Some cards have a pink and green color scheme. Others, however, have a gold and turquoise color scheme.
The cards, like many other trade issues, are meant to be humorous in nature. The tennis card, for example, shows a player being hit in the face with a ball. Each card has a small caption accompanying it.
Also as other trade cards, these are printed on thinner card stock. Advertisement placements also vary with some having ads printed along the top, others on the back, and some stock cards having none at all.
Two Color Schemes and a Variation
The trade cards have a thin white border and are distinguished by their use of only two colors. Two different color schemes have been observed.
Some cards have a pink and green color scheme. Others, however, have a gold and turquoise/blueish color scheme. I have seen both types of color schemes for most cards in the set, thus making it likely that both were used for all cards printed.
Shown here are both types for the tennis card. As can be observed, these are the exact same picture with the same titles and placement of the copyright/George Hayes name. While many of the cards have Hayes’ name at the bottom in small print, some do not.
The pink and green cards seem to be less rare. Despite that, I have not observed any real difference in pricing.
A Third Type?
A Third Type can sometimes be imagined that varies from the two mentioned/shown above. And it is one I have not seen often.
This third type includes a card with a silver or gray background. It is seen with the turquoise/blue ink type, though I am not sure if it can be found with the red and green color theme as well.
The lone card I have seen with this color scheme has the same image (in this case, the tennis card) as the others in the set. However, what is not clear is if the scheme is a deliberate third type or simply the result of the card not getting enough of a specific color of ink.
Cards with ink variances is hardly a new thing in pre-war cards. With quality control low (especially for strip cards and lower-quality cards) it is not uncommon to find early cards missing a specific color or, more commonly, a bit low on it.
Other Hayes Cards
Finally, note that Hayes other produced additional trade cards that look similar to these with the same ink colors. They have a similar style and are sometimes thought to be part of this release.
However, those cards are non-sports subjects and, more importantly, do not include titles on them. For that reason, I do not consider them to be part of this set, despite their similarity in appearance.
Additionally, yet another set of “Dude” cards with the same format/layout was created as well. Those cards do have titles but are clearly their own set.
One of the cards in the set, called ‘The Dude Mashed’ could be construed loosely as a boxing card. However, since the ‘competitors’ (a man and a horse-like man’) are not wearing gloves, it is a challenge to classify the card as such.
That card is shown here.
An Eighth Card?
It should be noted that an eighth possible card for this set exists. A card for archery, titled, ‘An Arrow Escape,’ is known.
The card has the same layout/design as the other cards in this set. The lone difference is that instead of George Hayes’ name appearing, the name Chas Moritz appears.
It is possible that this card belongs in this set. However, since it does not bear the name of Hayes, I have left it off of the formal checklist.
1881 George Hayes Duotone Trade Cards Checklist
I have observed seven different cards in the set but it is possible that others exist. Aside from the tennis card, which is seen quite frequently, I have found the others to be harder to find.
- A Bite (Fishing)
- Bowled Out (Cricket)
- Bucked (Cycling)
- Caught a Crab (Boating)
- High Vault (Pole Vault)
- Kicked (Hunting)
- Served (Tennis)