Discovery of a Rare Cricket Trade Card Adds to an Uncataloged Sports Set

A 19th century baseball trade card is no longer considered a standalone issue

211 Trade CardIn addition to the numerous 19th century trade card sets available, many individual baseball cards exist that are not believed to be part of sets. Many of those were cataloged by noted collector Frank Keetz in his many years of trade card research.

Mr. Keetz typically assigned a number to these individual cards and these numbers are used by collectors today in an effort to help catalog them.

One such card is a baseball card identified as No. 211 Baseball Scene. The trade card depicts exactly what the title says – a baseball scene. It is a pretty rare card and the other identifying mark on it is a small number 813 with an ‘R’ inside of a triangle.

Shown here, this is not one of the more common trade cards. You do see them around from time to time but many reside in the collections of trade card collectors, I imagine. Part of the reason I say that is because I have seen it several times appear in auctions as a part of lots. Individually, you just don’t see it a whole lot.

The card’s description in Mr. Keetz’s most recent book never indicated it was part of a set (as some of his other individual cards did). But we now have evidence that it is definitively not a standalone issue.

Trade cards are one of my favorite non-set things to collect. I’m sort of a type card collector when it comes to them as I like having many from different sets as opposed to trying to build complete sets of them. I’m hardly an enthusiast like some folks are but I probably have a collection of 50-75 sports trade cards, primarily baseball.

Trade Card No. 211 Cricket Baseball SceneI recently stumbled upon an auction for one that just looked kind of familiar. I’ve seen enough trade cards that some of them sort of look alike. But this particular one seemed like something I’d seen before. Only problem was I had seen the design but not that specific card.

The card is a cricket card and while many cricket scenes look like baseball scenes because of the similarities in the sport, I’m not a huge cricket person, in any sense. I’ve got maybe a couple hundred tobacco cards for the sport but that’s really it. But the scene just looked familiar.

It didn’t take me long in scouring the trade card portion of the site here to make the connection to the No. 211 baseball card. The card has the same exact design, only with a cricket scene instead of a baseball one. It also has the R ‘813’ identifying mark and is clearly part of the same set as the baseball card.

I beat out only one other bidder as I can’t imagine many, if any, collectors familiar with the No. 211 baseball card even noticed it. Heck, how many collectors in general could even tell you about the No. 211 baseball card? But if more were aware of it, I believe it would have garnered more attention. I have scanned for duplicates of this card and, while I’m sure they exist, could not find any other copies online. Like the baseball card, it appears to be a pretty rare issue. In true trade card fashion (since these were used as advertising cards), my cricket card also has an Emerson Piano mention at the top, showing this was used by a business as trade cards were intended.

How many other cards belong in the set? Beats me but I’m very interested in looking for others now that I know that the baseball card is not a standalone issue.

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