The 1887 N284 Buchner set is kind of a strange issue. It is heralded as a great set by some because of a checklist that includes early cards of numerous Hall of Famers but is also disregarded by others because of its repeated images. But whatever you think of the set, one card that demands attention is a curious one of outfielder George Wood.
About the N284 Buchner Gold Coin Set
If you’re unfamiliar with the N284 Buchner Gold Coin set, here’s a brief intro. The issue is from 1887 and was, somewhat contrary to its name, not a coin set. Rather it was a set of cards issued by a tobacco brand, Buchner Gold Coin. While other subjects, including policemen, have cards that are categorized as N284s, in general, this set is seen as a baseball issue by sports collectors with the other cards not being nearly as popular.
The set has a modest 143 cards in it but isn’t really seen as achievable despite that modest number. The cards are pretty rare with PSA grading only one or, at most, a handful of each card. There simply aren’t many of them around. They do pop up on eBay relatively often but with so few of each one known and given the prices of even low-grade cards, collecting even half of the set would be a pretty remarkable achievement.
While the set features real names of players, it’s considered a generic issue of sorts because the poses depicted in the artwork were used for more than one player, similar to the E91 American Caramel cards. Even though many of the poses were the same, the exact artwork on the cards was not and variances between players.
About George Wood
One player featured in the set is outfielder George Wood. Wood began his career in 1880 as a member of the Worcester Ruby Legs before playing 1881-1885 with the Detroit Wolverines, both National League teams. He played with the Philadelphia Quakers from 1886-1889 before finishing his career with several teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Athletics, and Cincinnati Reds.
Wood was a good player but not deemed one of the bigger stars of his generation. He did, however, post some impressive numbers, including hitting a league-high seven home runs in 1882 at the age of only 24.
Nicknamed ‘Dandy’, he would also manage as a player/manager and later umpire. Born in Canada, he is revered as one of the country’s greatest early players. While he is not enshrined in Cooperstown, he was inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame.
George Wood Horizontal Pose
In a set that is known for its duplicity, one card that broke the mold was one for Wood.
Like several players in the set, Wood has more than one card. One features him as a fielder with a ball that is a common pose shared by several others players. But the other is far more interesting and desirable.
In Wood’s second card, he is seen as a basestealer in somewhat of a unique pose. It doesn’t look quite like a slide but does feature Wood reaching for the base. The card is significant for two reasons. First, it’s a horizontal card while every other card in the set is a vertical pose.
Second and more importantly, unlike many of the other poses in the set, this one wasn’t duplicated. It’s unique only to Wood and not found anywhere else in the release. Even people that consider this as an entirely generic set would be hard-pressed to call the Wood card a generic issue since the pose is not duplicated.
Because of those two things, the card generally has a slight premium attached to it. The card hasn’t quite taken on rock star fame, such as the Art Whitney Old Judge card with him pictured along with a dog, but I also think it’s going to gain more and more recognition over time. It’s not only different from the rest of the set as a horizontal but is unique because it is the only time the pose is seen in the issue.
Putting those two factors together along with the rarity and age of this 19th century set, and you have a pretty good recipe for a card that should gain more and more interest over time.