1884 Boxing Children Trade Card Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Boxing Children Trade Cards
Year 1884
Size 3″ X 4″
Images Color
Type Trade
Number in Set
4 (?)

1884 Boxing Children Trade Cards Overview

Boxing Children Trade CardsThese trade cards feature a pair of children in a boxing ring. The children are both very young and the pictures seem to tell a short story.

Formally, I have not seen any confirmed name for this set as they have been referred to as many different things. And while there is a copyrighted print on the fronts of them on the green portion of the ring, the lithographer is not known.

At least three cards exist in this series. The cards have an olive green background with the pictures having a mostly darkened appearance. I have seen these cards both with thin white borders and also without borders, though trimming could be the cause for the latter. Yet another variation exists with pictures of 19th century boxing cards on the wall in the background.

A larger set of four cards is known to exist. While I have not seen the fourth card (the children shaking hands) in the smaller variant, I believe it likely to exist.

Some of these cards may not appear to be trade cards as some are found with blank backgrounds and no sponsor names. However, others feature cigar brands on them with advertisements on the back and, in some cases, small advertising print at the bottom on the fronts.

These cards are not terribly rare but aren’t seen a lot, either.

John Sullivan and Paddy Ryan

While the children are not named on these cards, others have their names printed on the bottoms – John Sullivan and Paddy Ryan. Those cards also are dated as 1884 while some variations of these have a copyright on them for 1885.

Sullivan and Ryan, of course, were professional fighters. These are generally considered to be a child’s depiction of one of their fights (Sullivan won fights against Ryan in 1882 and 1886 while an 1885 bout was fought to a no contest).

The practice of having children depict real athletes is not uncommon. Trade cards in baseball used this same idea and an 1892 stereoview card of children depicting John Sullivan and James Corbett is known, too.

Boxing Children Trade Cards Checklist

  1. Children Shaking Hands*
  2. Children Standing, Facing Front
  3. Children Standing, Facing Each Other
  4. Child Standing Over Fallen Opponent

*This card exists in the larger format and while I have not seen it in the smaller size, believe it likely exists

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