1890 Kimball Pretty Athletes Set and Checklist (N196)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Kimball Pretty Athletes (N196)
Year 1889
Size  2 1/2″ x 3 3/4″
Images Color
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set
20

1890 Kimball Pretty Athletes Set Overview

N196 Pretty Athletes BoxingN196 Pretty Athletes TennisThis was one of many lithographic tobacco card issues that featured women before 1900. Women were routinely the subjects of tobacco card inserts and sometimes, as is the case here, they were part of a sports series.

These cards depicted women participating in a number of sports and activities. Unlike many issues that often included non-sports subjects, this was actually an entirely sports issue. None of the four major sports are represented here but there are cards for numerous sports, including boxing and tennis, among others.

While only one boxing card is technically here, the Sand Bag Exercise card, as checklisted below, features a woman with a punching bag and could loosely be considered a boxing card, too.

At 2 1/2″ x 3 3/4″, the cards were oversized compared to the smaller tobacco cards of that time typically seen. The fronts of the cards featured a color picture of a generic female athlete. Backs did not provide a checklist but mentioned the cards were packed with four of Kimball’s tobacco brands:

  • Black and Tan
  • Hard Tack
  • Old Gold
  • Sweet Lavender

The cards are hard to come by these days, though not impossible. Typically, it is the boxing and tennis cards that command the most interest.

Redemptions and Canceled Cards

IMG_2121Backs also referenced a promotion to receive an album or a novel. To receive one of those items, collectors had to send in 50 of the cards. Interestingly, the stipulations included collectors sending the back in a ‘clean condition’ – something I had not previously seen with other such redemption issues. But if you encounter a redeemed card, it is easy to see why.

Kimball showed that a card had already been redeemed in at least two different ways. Some redeemed cards included a purple stamp that included the print, “This Offer Withdrawn.” Other cards simply had black lines through the text mentioning the offer. It appears, then, that the cards were returned to collectors with one of those two methods indicating they could not be redeemed again.

Redeemed cards are out there. However, they are significantly rarer than unredeemed versions.

Here’s a closer look at the redeemed cards.

1890 Kimball Pretty Athletes Checklist

  1. Bicycling
  2. Boxing
  3. Club Swinging
  4. Diving
  5. Dumb Bell Exercise
  6. Fencing
  7. Fishing
  8. Lawn Tennis Exercise
  9. Parallel Bar Exercise
  10. Rowing
  11. Sand Bag Exercise
  12. Shooting
  13. Skating
  14. Skipping Rope
  15. Swimming
  16. Swinging Rings Exercise
  17. Tight-Rope Walking
  18. Tobogganing
  19. Trapeze Exercise
  20. Weight Pulling

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