The Baines Shield cards are numerous and often go under the radar of American collectors. These international issues were created by John Baines of England beginning in 1887 and lasted at least into the 1920s.
Cards were not issued with tobacco or candy products. Instead, they were sold as standalone issues. Each week, Baines would often give away shirts and jerseys to the children that collected and then sent in the largest assortment of cards with different icons.
The cards are called Baines Shield cards because most of them are die-cuts in the form of a shield. Some are circular, including some golf issues, which are have a golf ball type of background. But most are shield die-cuts. Most did not feature actual players. Instead, they focused on specific teams with pictures of generic players.
Many UK issues are often found in good condition as they were generally more collected by adults and preserved better. But some interesting research actually shows that the Baines cards were themselves used in a game that involved throwing them against a wall and, thus, explaining why many have been damaged.
Baines Shield Cards Checklist
There are numerous Baines Shield sets and because the majority of these are soccer and rugby issues, no attempt has been made to checklist them here.