1904 Fan Craze Set Predated Popular 1906 Issues

‘It’s In The Details’

Title Fan Craze
Year 1904
Size 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Images Black and White
Type Game Cards
Number in Set

1904 Fan Craze Set Overview

002Many collectors are familiar with Fan Craze’s 1906 WG-2 and WG-3 gaming cards. Fan Craze was a gaming company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The WG-2 and WG-3 issues were part of a card game and are popular because they feature actual players. The cards are significantly cheaper than other issues of those players from the same era. Additionally, because they were part of a game, they were sometimes barely used and, thus, often found in good condition.

But fewer collectors are familiar with the company’s earlier 1904 set. This set features cards with specific actions on them to allow for game play. Some of the cards do have pictures of a players on them (only a batter was used), but they are generic in nature. For this reason, the 1904 Fan Craze set isn’t as widely collected as the later issues. But that it was the company’s first baseball set and one of the earliest gaming issues makes it desirable.

The cards utilize only black ink for the words and designs on the side with the actions. The back of the card has the popular Fan Craze logo printed in a deep red color as shown. Full Fan Craze games are available from time to time. A complete game will include the following items:

  • (48) playing cards plus the additional non-playing cards (instructions, scoring, etc.)
  • An instructional booklet
  • Score cards (exact number that came with the game is unknown)
  • Miniature envelope with nails to be used on the playing board
  • Wooden playing board (replica of a baseball field) with Fan Craze logo
  • The original cardboard box that measures 4 3/4″ wide x 6 1/4″ tall

A game missing any of these pieces is not a complete one. The game originally sold for only fifty cents back in 1904 and the 1904 date is confirmed by the instructions booklet that states it was copyrighted in that year. The game’s registered trademark was No. 11358.

Honus Wagner — Sort Of

While the set does not feature the famous portraits and names of actual players as found in Fan Craze’s later set, at least two cards do feature Honus Wagner.

Wagner’s name appears on a card relating to batting percentages. The card explains how to calculate a batting average (dividing the number of hits by the number of at bats) and then proceeds to mention Wagner’s statistics, citing that the Hall of Famer hit .355 in 1903 with 182 base hits in 512 at bats.

A second card lists batting averages of several players, including Wagner.

While most collectors would not value these cards anywhere near a card truly dedicated to Wagner, they certainly should receive a premium over the other cards in the set.

Pictured here is one of the Wagner cards.

1904 Fan Craze Set Checklist

001 - Copy

  1. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  2. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  3. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  4. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  5. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  6. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  7. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  8. How to Score A Professional Game of Baseball
  9. Fan Craze Cover Card
  10. Fan Craze Ad Card
  11. Fan Craze Ad Card with Manufacturer Info
  12. Single with Generic Player
  13. Single with Generic Player
  14. Single with Generic Player
  15. Strike with Generic Player
  16. Strike with Generic Player
  17. Strike with Generic Player
  18. Strike with Generic Player
  19. Out at First with Generic Player
  20. Out at First with Generic Player001
  21. Hit by Batted Ball with Generic Player
  22. Caught Napping with Generic Player
  23. Three-Base Hit with Players at Table
  24. Two-Base Hit with Fan Craze Logo
  25. Passed Ball
  26. Wild Pitch
  27. Home Run
  28. Hit by Pitcher
  29. Strike Rule 43 Sec. 1
  30. Strike Rule 43 Sec. 2
  31. Strike Rule 43 Sec. 4
  32. Strike Rule 43 Sec. 5
  33. Foul Strike
  34. Ball
  35. Ball
  36. Ball
  37. Ball
  38. Ball
  39. Ball
  40. Ball
  41. Ball
  42. Out at First
  43. Out on Fly
  44. Out on Fly
  45. Out on Foul
  46. Out on Foul
  47. Sacrifice
  48. Balk
  49. Double Play
  50. Triple Play
  51. Single
  52. Single
  53. Bunt
  54. Bunt
  55. Out on Steal
  56. Double Steal
  57. Stolen Base
  58. Stolen Base
  59. Stolen Base

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