1908-09 Ogden’s Pugilists & Wrestlers Set and Checklist

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Ogden’s Pugilists & Wrestlers
Year 1908-09
Size 1 5/8″ x 2 9/16″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set

1908-09 Ogden’s Pugilists & Wrestlers Set Overview

1908 Ogden Pugilists and Wrestlers George Hackenschmidt WrestlingFrank Gotch 1908-09 Pugilists and Wrestlers Wrestling Boxing.jpgThe 1908-09 Ogden’s Pugilists & Wrestlers set is one of the most popular tobacco boxing and wrestling sets around. Despite its UK origins, it has become one of the hotter pre-war boxing cards collected here in the U.S.

The cards are your typical cigarette cards with color images on the front with the athlete’s name at the bottom. Backs had a short biography of the athlete as well as a brief mention of Ogden’s, the issuer, at the bottom.

Similar to the 1888-89 Allen & Ginter N28 and N29 series, pictures of the athletes stand out as they are set against a plain white background.

Many of the sports’ stars are found in the release. Boxers include Jack Johnson, John Sullivan, and James Jeffries while wrestlers include the legendary Georges Hackenschmidt and Frank Gotch. From a wrestling standpoint, Hackenschmidt headlines the 1908 set while Gotch is the star in the 1909 issue.

The second series cards are generally more valuable. While commons in the first series can start in the $5-$10 range, second series commons can cost two to three times that amount. They are perhaps not rare, but they are much tougher to find.

The cards are quite similar to a later Ogden’s issue, simply known as the 1915 Ogden Boxers set. While the cards utilize the same design as those, often confusing collectors, there are many differences between the two releases. Here’s a comparison of the two sets.

Variations and Different Dates of Release

The set is really two sets in one. However, since the are numbered consecutively, many collectors simply classify this as one large set. Series 1 includes cards 1-50 and Series 2 picks up with card No. 51 and runs through 75.

The first set of 50 cards was first released in 1908 with a second shorter set consisting of 25 cards being distributed in 1909. Complicating matters a bit, however, is that not all first series cards were issued in 1908. Some were reprinted in 1909 to go along with the second series.

The four types of cards are listed below:

  • 1st Series Cards 1-25 (all printed in 1908)
  • 1st Series Cards 26-50 with beige/off-white backs (all printed in 1908)
  • 1st Series Cards 26-50 with white backs (all printed in 1909)
  • 2nd Series Cards 51-75 (all printed in 1909)

It should be noted that the differences in the cards with white and off white backs can be difficult to spot simply because the cards are more than 100 years old and even ones that were printed with a bright white have since worn a bit over time.

Keys to the Set

While many Hall of Famers are found in this set, a few cards stand out among the rest.

One interesting note for baseball fans is that Abe Attell is featured. Attell’s name will be familiar to some as he was one of the alleged gamblers (more specifically, a middleman) involved in the fixing of the 1919 World Series between the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds. The card is actually considered to be his rookie card, which has led to increased popularity.

The two wrestling cards of early stars Hackenschmidt and Gotch are standouts. Both were considered early greats of the sport and the fact that they have few early 1900s cards helps make this pair desirable. Gotch’s card, in particular, is valuable as a second series card.

The legendary John Sullivan’s card is sought after. As are the cards of several prominent Black fighters. But the biggest card in either series belongs to Jack Johnson. Johnson’s card is viewed as a rookie issue, despite the fact that he is found in the c1909 Health and Strength Wellness Postcards set that is sometimes dated to as early as 1908.

Even in low-grade condition, the Johnson card typically starts in the $300-$500 range. His price, too, is boosted by the fact that he is found in the tougher second series.

1908-09 Ogden’s Pugilists & Wrestlers Set Checklist

  1. Jabez White
  2. Jem Roche
  3. Joe Rogers
  4. Tommy Burns
  5. Tom Palmer
  6. Frank Craig
  7. Ali Nourdah Hassan
  8. Gunner James Moir
  9. Zbysco
  10. Charlie Mitchell
  11. Jacobus Koch
  12. Jack Carroll
  13. John Sullivan
  14. Tom Connors
  15. Charlie Green
  16. George Hackenschmidt
  17. Peter Mangham
  18. Tom Monk
  19. Jimmy Mellor
  20. Paul Pons
  21. Frank Slavin
  22. Terry McGovern
  23. Harry Tonge
  24. James Jeffries
  25. Joe Bowker
  26. Matt Steadman
  27. Jimmy Lane
  28. Tom Sharkey
  29. Joe Carroll
  30. Jack Bain
  31. Madrali
  32. Jimmy Collins
  33. Peter Bannon
  34. Bob Fitzsimmons
  35. Jack Smith
  36. Willie Collins
  37. Fred Welsh
  38. Jim Driscoll
  39. Spike Robson
  40. Peter Gotz
  41. Abe Attell
  42. Charlie Griffin
  43. Frank Erne
  44. Owen Moran
  45. Ivan Padoubny
  46. Jack Goldswain
  47. Jack Palmer
  48. Rudolf Unholz
  49. Jim Esson
  50. Joe Gans
  51. Sam McVey
  52. G.C. O’Kelly
  53. Councillor Peter Wright
  54. Tom Thomas
  55. Jack Johnson
  56. Twin Sullivan
  57. Eugene Vallotton
  58. Ernst Siegfried
  59. Withers Bain
  60. Pat Connolly
  61. John Lemm
  62. Bill Lang
  63. Bart Connolly
  64. Frank Crozier
  65. Jimmy Britt
  66. Jim Kenrick
  67. Ian Hague
  68. Bill Squires
  69. Henry Irslinger
  70. Lauritz Neilson
  71. Johnny Summers
  72. Donald Dinnie
  73. Sam Langford
  74. Frank Gotch
  75. Al Delmont

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