1910 Mecca / Tolstoi Champion Athletes and Prizefighters Set and Checklist (T220)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Mecca / Tolstoi Champion Athletes and Prizefighters (T220)
Year 1910
Size 2 1/2″ x 3 1/4″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set

1910 Mecca / Tolstoi Champion Athletes and Prizefighters Set Overview

T220 Kid Lavigne.jpgThe T220 Champion Athletes and Prizefighters set is one of the more popular 20th century boxing tobacco card issues. The cards were distributed inside packages of Mecca and Tolstoi Cigarettes. Unlike most of the other tobacco cards of that same time period, these are larger and shaped more like a square. Among pre-war boxing tobacco sets, this is one of the more heavily collected ones.

The set appears to have been destined to be larger at some point and we know that from its name. While it is called the Champion Athletes and Prizefighters set, only boxers are known to be in it.

The T223 Dixie Queen set used the same images from the T220 set but the two sets have a few differences. First, they were printed on different paper. The T220 cards are also slightly larger than the T223 cards and, instead of Dixie Queen ads, these have Mecca and Tolstoi ads.

The styles for the cards varies as some feature individual boxers while others feature fights between a pair of boxers. Additionally, while some of the cards featuring two boxers include their full names, others only have their last names.

The set includes both active and retired boxers. John L. Sullivan, for example, is one of the key cards in the set, even though his career had ended many years before these cards were issued. Because it includes fighters of different eras, it is a star-filled set with plenty of big names.

The cards have color pictures with mostly thick white borders on the front and a description of the subject(s) on the back as well as a tobacco advertisement for either Mecca or Tolstoi. The scenery used for many of the photos is a bit unique and not necessarily indicative of backgrounds where more modern fights might take place. Some of the cards have a short biography of the fighter on the back while others simply provide his record.

Additionally, some cards in the set were also printed with silver borders. Those are much rarer than the white ones and also sell for a bit more.

Mike Donovan – Then and Now

Another intriguing subject in the set is Mike Donovan and he appears on two cards.

Donovan is pictured on one card in the set as an old man at the age of 62 but is still in the ring as if he were preparing to fight. At the time, he was the boxing instructor for the New York Athletic Club and his card states that he remained just as active as he was in his youth. That card is titled, ‘Mike Donovan of Today.’

Donovan also has a different card picturing him as a younger fighter in the 1860s when he was the world champion. That card is titled, ‘World’s Champion in the Sixties.’

Here’s a closer look at Donovan’s cards.

1910 Mecca / Tolstoi Champion Athletes and Prizefighters Set Checklist

  1. James Barry
  2. Willie Beecher
  3. Jack Burke
  4. Tommy Burns
  5. Jem Carney
  6. Joe Choynski
  7. Joe Coburn
  8. James Corbett
  9. Young Corbett
  10. Leach Cross
  11. Jack Dempsey
  12. George Dixon
  13. Mike Donovan – In the 60s
  14. Mike Donovan – Today
  15. Patsey Driscoll and Glover
  16. Billy Edwards
  17. Young Erne
  18. Bob Fitzsimmons
  19. Johnny Frayne
  20. Joe Gans
  21. Charlie Goldman
  22. Jack Goodman
  23. Young Griffo
  24. Marvin Hart
  25. John Heenan
  26. John Heenan and Tom Sayers
  27. Peter Jackson
  28. James Jeffries and Tom Sharkey
  29. Ben Jordan
  30. Frank Klaus
  31. Kid Lavigne
  32. Jem Mace and Tom King
  33. Jem Mace
  34. Frankie Madden
  35. Peter Maher
  36. Jack McAuliffe
  37. Kid McCoy
  38. Terry McGovern
  39. Charlie Mitchell
  40. Jack O’Brien
  41. Pal Moore
  42. Randall and Belasco
  43. Randall and Turner
  44. Tommy Ryan
  45. Tom Sharkey
  46. John Sullivan
  47. John Sullivan and Jake Kilrain
  48. Joe Wagner
  49. Freddie Welsh
  50. Tug Wilson

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