1887-90 Old Judge and Gypsy Queen Boxing Set and Checklist (N174)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Old Judge / Gypsy Queen
Year 1887-90
Size 1 1/2″ x 2 5/8″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set
Unknown

1887-90 Old Judge and Gypsy Queen Overview

N174 Gypsy Queen Tug WilsonN174 Paddy Ryan 2While not as massive as the N172 Old Judge baseball counterpart, plenty of mysteries still surround this set.

These cards were issued by Goodwin for their Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarette brands. The cards look like the N172 baseball issue with numerous different types of formatting on the cards. The Old Judge name, for example, is found in various parts of the cards and a completely confirmed checklist for the set is unknown. One of those known types, too, is one that has the same layout as the N175 Gypsy Queen set. Cards with that layout, though, are still considered to be N174s and N175s.

Cards feature real images of the top boxers of the era. And like the baseball issue, many boxers have more than one card with several pose variations.

Among those featured in the set is several cards of the legendary John Sullivan as well as several other big names, including Peter Jackson, Jake Kilrain, and Jack ‘Nonpareil’ Dempsey.

Rarity

Rarity is a key component to this unique set.

Most cards probably don’t have more than a few dozen in existence and some have only a handful. Collectively, the cards aren’t too rare. For instance, finding any Old Judge card isn’t difficult. However, finding specific ones, particularly of non-stars routinely for sale, is very hard.

In theory, most individual cards, if not all, are likely rarer than any number of exclusive issues, including the Honus Wagner T206 card. Collectors looking for individual players, specifically obscure ones, can have a difficult time.

Fading

Similar to other like-designed cards, the biggest problem with the cards is easily fading.

Some issues, particularly those exposed to light, have become barely recognizable by collectors unfamiliar with them. This makes for a premium on cards that have sharp, clear pictures. Even graded cards with a low technical score are heavily-desired if the pictures are clear. Similarly, cards graded well with faded images are not quite as desirable as they otherwise should be.

The best way to store Old Judge cards is out of light, obviously. Dealers displaying them at card shows or collectors displaying them in rooms exposed to light are advised to seek other alternatives.

1887-90 Old Judge and Gypsy Queen Checklist

A confirmed checklist for this set is not yet available.

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