A look into the 1889 N228 Kinney Bros. Novelties Set and its Six Variations

‘It’s In The Details’

Title N228 Kinney Brothers
Year 1889
Size Various
Images Color
Type 19th Century Tobacco
Number in Set
289

N228 Kinney Brothers Overview

002kinney-baseball-girlThe N228 Kinney Bros. Novelties set is already a unique issue. Produced in 1889, these cards can be found but are not plentiful. A total of six types make up the complete set, which features actresses and other women.

While this is mostly a non-sports issue, there is one intriguing baseball card in the set – that of a girl against a baseball background. The only other real sports card is that of a girl printed on a tennis racket. There are actually three of each of these, found in Type 3, Type 4, and Type 5.

Some collectors may be familiar with the cards, but most are not aware that there are six types of the Kinney cards. They are as follows:

Type 1: Standard circular card (25 cards)
Type 2: Standard circular card with a colored edge (50 cards)
Type 3: Die-cut card (75 cards)
Type 4: Die-cut embossed card (75 cards)
Type 5: Rectangular card (50 cards)
Type 6: Die-cut card in the shape of an egg (14 cards)

Interestingly enough, the different types have varying backgrounds, too. Type 1 and 2, for example, have the Kinney Bros. Cigarettes name on different colored backs. Type 3 and 4 are exactly the same. They also have the Kinney Bros. name and state that there are 50 cards in the set, one in each package.

Type 5 has yet another back and in uncut form is particularly hard to find because the backs of the cards encouraged collectors to cut them up. Those cards stated the following:

The beauty and value of this collection is increased by cutting out to shape of design.”

It’s hard to say exactly why Kinney Bros. wanted collectors to do that. Perhaps it was so that they matched the other die-cut issues they created. But in that instance, why make the rectangular cards at all, then? It’s a question that isn’t ever likely to be answered.

The odd request worked, though. Pictured here is a perfect example of this happening. As you can see, a previous collector of this card cut out the circular shape, leaving some of the text on the back cut off.

N228 Kinney Brothers Checklist

A total of 289 cards make up this set, although almost all of them are non-sports related.

Note that while I have not seen a complete checklist for Type 4, I have made the assumption that it includes 75 cards as in the nearly identical Type 3 subset, since the cards are virtually the same (only embossed).

Below are pictures of cards for nearly the entire set.

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