Obscure Card of the Month: 1892 Keystone John Sullivan-Jim Corbett Stereoview

This unique card depicts one of the most famous boxing matches of all time

John Sullivan James Corbett 1892 Stereograph HorizontalEach month, the site spotlights an obscure sports card at the bottom of the main page. Since I’m often asked questions about them, I figured I should try to provide some insight on these so I’ll be writing a short post each month when the card is changed.

This month’s card is a unique one to be sure. It’s an 1892 Keystone stereoview card and while most of the ones in that set are non-sports related, a pretty collectible boxing card is found in it.

This card features a child depiction of the famous fight between then champion John Sullivan and challenger Jim Corbett. Both are boxing Hall of Famers and the fight was one of the most important ones in boxing history. Sullivan was upset for his first and only career loss, as he was defeated by Corbett. While Sullivan did stick around in the sport and even fought in exhibitions after that, it was his last real fight.

Stereoviews (or stereoscopic cards, as they are sometimes called) are not your traditional card. These cards were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and allowed a viewer to see what was essentially a three-dimensional picture. Each card had two slightly different pictures on it which, when combined with special glasses or viewers, provided a three-dimensional image.

This interesting card features two children depicting the fight. It is copyrighted to 1892, which is the year the Sullivan-Corbett fight occurred but it is not clear if it was produced before or after that bout. My guess is that it was used to promote the fight instead of coming after it as no clear winner is mentioned. However, that is nothing more than a theory and the exact date of production is not known.

As mentioned on the front of the card, it was produced by the Keystone View Company. This one is No. 77 and part of what can be considered a set. Most of the other subjects are non-sports related.

While the card does not really depict Sullivan and Corbett, it is still a popular one with boxing collectors and can sell for $50 or more.

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