Mike Donovan Cards Stand Out in the T220 Boxing Champions Set
A pair of unique cards are buried away in a popular boxing tobacco card issue
The T220 Boxing Champions set is one of the more collected boxing tobacco issues. It isn’t among the most expensive but is somewhat plentiful and includes most of the big fighters from that era. With 50 cards in the set, it is relatively easy to assemble.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the set are a pair of cards featuring Mike Donovan. Nicknamed the Professor, Donovan was a middleweight fighter from the 1800s. He had a pretty interesting life as he once fought John Sullivan, participated in a fight refereed by Wyatt Earp, and later went on to teach the sport to Teddy Roosevelt. Additionally, Donovan’s grandson is actually Pro Football Hall of Famer Art Donovan.
Donovan had a long career in the sport as both a boxer and a teacher, and that is the likely reason he was chosen for a pair of interesting cards. Most boxers had only one card in the set with the exception of some that were featured on dual-fighter cards that featured actual matches. But Donovan is there twice.
One of his cards pictures a young Donovan and is titled, “World’s Champion in the Sixties.” That, of course, would have been a reference to the 1860s. But Donovan’s other card shows him as an older gentleman with gray hair (and missing quite a bit, too). That card shows an elderly Donovan in the ring with the caption, “Mike Donovan of Today.”
Both cards are pictured here.
These cards are not very expensive and there isn’t much of a premium placed on either one over the other. In low-grade condition, they start in the $5-$10 range. Not terribly significant cards but it was an interesting decision to include a younger and older version of the same fighter in a set.