1889 Milton Bradley American Sports Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Milton Bradley American Sports
Year 1889
Images Blue-Ink
Type Game Cards
Number in Set

1889 Milton Bradley American Sports Set Overview

1889 Milton Bradley American Sports BaseballThis unique card game was a matching game produced by Milton Bradley in the late 1880s. Its 1889 date makes it one of the earlier known sports card games. The game is merely titled, ‘American Sports.’

Milton Bradley’s description of the game in one of their catalogs calls this ‘A card game embodying all the popular sports of the day.’ The game was listed (along with their other games and products) in the Catalogue of Games, Sectional Pictures, Toys, Puzzles, Blocks, and Novelties.

The game originally sold for a quarter. It included a total of 32 different cards with pairs of the cards putting together a complete sports picture. So while there were 32 cards in the game, they combined to create only 16 total pictures.

The pictures included a range of sports and games played in America. Of most interest are cards that depict baseball and football. While the baseball game clearly looks like an early baseball scene, the football card does not. Instead, it pictures a large field of more than 20 men dressed in formal attire charging towards each other. A ball carrier is not even seen and more than one game seems to be going on at once.

The cards were packaged inside of a Milton Bradley box, which was printed in color and included pictures of Lacrosse and snowshoeing with a mostly red border. Each card included a cartoon/drawn representation of the sport or game in question. Each card was also printed with only blue ink.

In addition to the cards with pictures of the sports, individual cards were also printed for 1st place, 2nd place, third place, and game instructions. The First Prize card pictured some sort of a tea set. Second Prize pictured a medal and Third Prize pictured a diploma.

Cards are extremely rare and the set is hardly ever seen.

Game Play

Cards were to be shuffled and dealt face down one at a time to all players. Once the cards were dealt, each player was to take a card from the person to his/her right. Any matches they accumulated were to be put in the middle of the players.

Once a particular player’s turn was over (after they could not complete any more matches), the person to his/her left would then play. After all pairs were matched, the winners were determined by the players possessing the 1st Prize, 2nd Prize, and 3rd Prize cards.

Thus, it wasn’t really important to match the cards. Instead, the goal was to be in possession of one of the prize cards at the end.

1889 Milton Bradley American Sports Set Checklist

Each sport listed below has two cards (a left and a right) and all cards have the corresponding card number. In other words, there are two No. 1 cards, two No. 2 cards, etc. Pictures of the entire set can be seen here.

  1. Rowing Regatta
  2. Lacrosse
  3. Soap Bubble Party
  4. Polo on Wheels
  5. Archery
  6. Trap Shooting
  7. Snow Shoe Race
  8. Lawn Tennis
  9. Toboggan Slide
  10. Cricket
  11. Baseball
  12. Bicycle
  13. Sailing Regatta
  14. Polo
  15. Football
  16. Croquet

Other unnumbered cards include:

  • First Prize
  • Second Prize
  • Third Prize
  • Directions Card

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