1887 N284 Buchner Gold Coin Card Set An Early Baseball Issue

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N284 Buchner Gold Coin
Year 1887
Size 1 3/4″ x 3″
Images Color
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set
143

N284 Buchner Gold Coin Overview

Tip O'Neill Buchner

When collectors think of the earliest major baseball card sets, the first set that often comes to mind is the N172 Old Judge set. But also printed around the same time was the 1887 N284 Buchner Gold Coin set.

While the name might indicate otherwise, these aren’t coins. Rather, they’re baseball cards produced by the Buchner Company for their Gold Coin Tobacco product.

Despite being such an early card, the set isn’t among the most popular pre-war card issues for a few reasons. First, they’re rare and hard to find. And with a somewhat sizable checklist of nearly 150 cards, that makes putting a set together virtually impossible.

In addition, while the cards are of specific players, the poses and depictions are generic. Images on many cards don’t look anything like the real-life player and many of the same exact poses were used on several different cards. This made them a stark contrast from other pre-war sets. The Old Judge and cabinet cards used actual photographs and other cards, such as the artistic T205 and T206 sets, featured outstanding lithography.

The lone exception to this rule is a card of George Wood. Wood has a horizontal card, which is not used by anyone else in the set. In it, he is stealing a base and for some reason, that pose was not duplicated. Alphabetically, it is considered the last card in the set. If the cards were created in alphabetical order, it is possible that the artist wanted to do something unique for the last card.

Also notable is that many players have more than one card in the set. Different poses were used for players with more than one card. Hall of Famer Dan Brouthers, for example, has one card featuring him ready to catch a baseball and another with him holding a bat.

Finally, the N284 designation given in the American Card Catalog was also shared with other subjects, including actors/actresses and police officers.

Here are photos of all of the cards in the set.

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N284 Buchner Advertisement CardAnother unique twist in these cards is that they can sometimes be found with parts of thick black letters and words on them. That is because they were printed as part of a large advertisement for the company’s product.

As this article states, the printing is on top of the fronts, indicating it was added to regular sheets of the cards. The cards also have regular backs and were printed on the same stock as the regular cards. This was a different approach compared to other tobacco cards that were used in the advertisements. Typically, the stock was different and most of the time, the backs were blank as the printers didn’t bother printing the backs onto them.

This tells me that the advertisements were likely very limited. If they had been mass produced, they would have probably printed them on thinner, less expensive stock and not bothered to waste additional ink needed to print them on the backs.

The text for the full advertising poster is not known. But that earlier link from Andy Broome’s website indicates that it, in part, reads something to the effect ‘Buchner & Co. Tobacco.’ The card shown here is courtesy of Broome.

These advertisement cards were not factory cut, obviously, since they were part of a poster. They are found individually today, however, and are always hand cut.

N284 Buchner Gold Coin Checklist

  1. Andrews
  2. Andrews
  3. Andrews
  4. Anson
  5. Anson
  6. Arundel
  7. Barkley
  8. Barkley
  9. Bassett
  10. Bastian
  11. Beecher
  12. Bennett
  13. Boyle
  14. Brouthers
  15. Brouthers
  16. Burdock
  17. Burns
  18. Burns
  19. Bushong
  20. Cahill
  21. Carroll
  22. Carroll
  23. Caruthers
  24. Casey
  25. Clarkson
  26. Clarkson
  27. Clements
  28. Coleman
  29. Comiskey
  30. Connor
  31. Connor
  32. Corbett
  33. Craig
  34. Crane
  35. Crowley
  36. Cushman
  37. Daley
  38. Daley
  39. Deasley
  40. Denny
  41. Denny
  42. Donnelly
  43. Donohue
  44. Dorgan
  45. Dorgan
  46. Dunlap
  47. Esterbrook
  48. Ewing
  49. Ewing
  50. Farrar
  51. Farrell
  52. Farrell
  53. Ferguson
  54. Flint
  55. Fogarty
  56. Forster
  57. Foutz
  58. Fulmer
  59. Gerhardt
  60. Getzein
  61. Gillespie
  62. Gillespie
  63. Gilligan
  64. Glasscock
  65. Glasscock
  66. Gleason
  67. Gore
  68. Hankinson
  69. Hanlon
  70. Hart
  71. Healy
  72. Hines
  73. Hines
  74. Hornung
  75. Irwin
  76. Johnston
  77. Keefe
  78. Keefe
  79. Kelly
  80. Kelly
  81. Kennedy
  82. Kilroy
  83. Latham
  84. Manning
  85. McClellan
  86. McCormick
  87. McGeach
  88. McGinnis
  89. Meyers
  90. Miller
  91. Morrell
  92. Morrell
  93. Morrissy
  94. Mulvey
  95. Mulvey
  96. Myers
  97. Nelson
  98. Nichol
  99. O’Brien
  100. O’Neil
  101. O’Rourke
  102. O’Rouke
  103. Orr
  104. Peoples
  105. Pfeffer
  106. Phillips
  107. Polhemus
  108. Porter
  109. Purcell
  110. Radbourn
  111. Radbourn
  112. Richardson
  113. Richardson
  114. Richardson
  115. Richardson
  116. Robinson
  117. Rooks
  118. Rosemann
  119. Ryan
  120. Seery
  121. Seery
  122. Shomberg
  123. Smith
  124. Strauss
  125. Sullivan
  126. Sullivan
  127. Sunday
  128. Sutton
  129. Thompson
  130. Thompson
  131. Von Der Ahe
  132. Ward
  133. Ward
  134. Ward
  135. Welch
  136. White
  137. Whitney
  138. Whitney
  139. Williamson
  140. Williamson
  141. Wise
  142. Wood
  143. Wood (Horizontal)

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