Obscure Card of the Month: 1929 Wills English Period Costumes – Golfer
What were golfers wearing in the 1700s? This unique tobacco card provides us with a glimpse.
The 1929 Wills English Period Costumes set provides a look at all kinds of attire in earlier times. While the set itself is nearly 100 years old, the cards featured here show fashions from much older than that.
The set is almost entirely a non-sports set and, given that its origins are from the UK, it does not generate a ton of interest from American collectors. But a unique golf card in it is certainly interesting enough to follow.
Card No. 35 in the set features a golf card titled, ‘A Country Gentleman.’ Many of the titles in the set were used for various cards and this one is no exception. Cards depicting other country gentlemen were seen on No. 44 and No. 46.
This card, however, is special as it is the only sports card in the set. Shown here is an English man dressed appropriately for golf in 1780. The back of the card gives some insight into the specific outfit shown.
Various types of hat were worn by the men of this period, ranging from the tiny chapeaux-bras of the dandies (in size little larger than would cover the snuff-box of a beau) to the black broad-brimmed hats especially affected by sportsmen. The simi-military appearance of the costume illustrated is due partly to the doubling back of the front of the coat, and partly to the black gaiters. These, which had been worn by soldiers in the early part of this century, became generally fashionable later. Contemporary prints show that golf clubs were longer (both in shaft and head) than those of today; the golfer’s stance also was somewhat different.
There are actually two different sizes of this set. The more common smaller version is a standard cigarette card size, measuring approximately 1 3/8″ x 2 5/8″. However, a larger version exists that is about 2 1/3″ x 3″. However, larger cards were only created for half the set and the golf card is not one of those. Thus, the golf card can only be found in the smaller, cigarette card size.
It’s a great picture. Everything from the uniform to the vintage golf equipment look and scenery. It’s just a very nice tobacco card depicting the early days of the sport.
While the golf card is generally the most desirable one in the set, it is very affordable. It is not always easy to find in the U.S. but often sells for around $10 or so, even though it can be sometimes found for even less.