1923 Godfrey Phillips Sports Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Godfrey Phillips Sports
Year 1923
Size 1 7/16″ x 2 7/16″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set
25

1923 Godfrey Phillips Sports Set Overview

1923 Godfrey Phillips Sports Golf.jpg1923 Godfrey Phillips Sports Boxing.jpgThis small tobacco set features a variety of sports. Simply called ‘Sports’ on the back, the issue includes a total of 25 cards.

None of the four major American sports are pictured but most will be familiar to collectors. Boxing, golf, tennis, wrestling, and soccer cards highlight the set. Each sport is named on the back but a caption is presented on the front.

Fronts of the cards feature color pictures of particular sports with white borders. Subjects pictured are considered generic ones as the names of specific athletes are not provided. Like other UK tobacco issues from around the same time period, backs include an ornate black and white printing. At just under 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, these are slightly smaller than many other tobacco issues. The London Cigarette Card Company cites both a white and a gray variation.

Perhaps the easiest thing to spot with this set is that it was designed to be humorous in nature. Athletes are mostly pictured in odd circumstances and it is easy to see that the set was designed to make collectors laugh.

Somewhat surprisingly, this set is not an easy one to find. Cards pop up individually but you rarely see complete sets offered for sale. But while sets are rare, finding one can be easier than building a set with individual cards. The cards are not even terribly easy to find on large marketplace hubs such as eBay.

Parallel Set from 1910

While the 1923 Sports cards are more well known, Godfrey Phillips actually issued a parallel set in 1910 called the ‘Sporting Series.’

Both types include the same front images. However, the pictures are ‘flipped’ with subjects facing in the other direction.

The backs are the easiest way to tell these cards apart. The ‘Sports’ variation has the Sports title at the top along with the sport name, card number, and a description of it in black ink.

The tougher Sporting Series cards are printed on slightly thinner card stock that is more of an off white or beige color. These cards do include a mention of the sport’s name and card number but are more of an advertisement for Godfrey Phillips without a description. These backs are also printed in blue ink instead of black. Finally, the card numbers also do not correspond with those in the later Sports set.

Shown here are the two backs distinguishing each from the other. The Sporting Series cards are more valuable.

1923 Godfrey Phillips Sports Set Checklist

  1. Skating
  2. Pole Walking
  3. Lacrosse
  4. Wrestling
  5. Tobagganing
  6. Water Polo
  7. Rugby
  8. Fishing
  9. Boxing
  10. Mountaineering
  11. Push-Ball
  12. Walking
  13. Tug of War
  14. Bathing
  15. Golf
  16. Hunting
  17. Fencing
  18. Cricket
  19. Tennis
  20. Racing
  21. Football (Soccer)
  22. Billiards
  23. Cycling
  24. Rabbit Shooting
  25. Cross Country Running

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