1889 Duke / Gail & Ax Actors and Actresses Set and Checklist (N150)

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Duke / Gail & Ax Actors and Actresses (N150)
Year 1889
Size  2 5/16″ x 4 1/16″
Images Sepia
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set

1889 Duke / Gail & Ax Actors and Actresses Set Overview

N150 John SullivanThis set is often overlooked by sports card collectors. Not only is it difficult to pursue, but few sports are actually in it. However, famous boxer John Sullivan is not only found in the set but he has four poses:

  • Portrait looking slightly to right
  • Portrait looking mostly to right
  • Standing with top hat
  • Standing with arms behind his back

In actuality, there are five different N150 sets as outlined in the American Card Catalog. Two issues were for Duke and three were for Gail & Ax. The varying sets promoted brands of those companies’ tobacco products.

The five sets are:

  • Duke Fair Play
  • Duke Honest Long Cut
  • Gail & Ax Bob Link
  • Gail & Ax Navy
  • Gail & Ax Pay Day

Collectors should note that this site actually says there are six with two different Gail & Ax Navy types. And, as is the case with the N157 Sunny South set (another issue distributed by both Duke and Gail & Ax), the Honest Long Cut name is seen in at least two different font types.

Cards from the set utilized real sepia images of the subjects. Unfortunately, that makes them susceptible to the same type of fading that is seen in the popular Old Judge cards issued during the same time period. Backs of the cards varied by brand. Some were blank with a black back (similar to the N300 Mayo cards) while others had ads for the representative brand. Also of note is that the cards are a bit oversized, measuring slightly larger than 2 1/4″ wide by 4″ tall. That size, of course can vary, because, like other 19th century tobacco cards, a good number of them have been trimmed at the bottom to remove the tobacco brand name.

The actresses seem to make up the majority of the set. No reliable checklist is known to exist with more than 1,000 cards possible in all between all of the variations.

1889 Duke / Gail & Ax Actors and Actresses Set Checklist

The four John Sullivan cards are the only known major sports issues in this set. Other minor sports may exist. For example, the set includes a card of a woman in a diving pose.