12th (and Final) Card Confirmed in H804-5 Trade Card Set
The final confirmed card in this 19th century trade issue completes the checklist
The H804-5 Coloured Players trade card set is one of the few baseball issues that were specifically identified by Jefferson Burdick in his American Card Catalog. Burdick chose the British spelling of the word Colored, for some reason.
The Coloured Players moniker, of course is one that would not be acceptable by today’s standards. But because that was how he termed it in his book many years ago, the name has mostly stuck — at least by those that even know what the cards are. These are pretty standard trade cards that were printed on thinner card stock and depicting mostly humorous scenes.
The set is a small one, featuring only four cards — all of African Americans in baseball scenes. The cards are not scarce but they are rarer than many trade issues. In good condition, they can fetch around $50-$100, though I have seen decent ones sell for less, too.
But while there are only four cards in the set, there are actually three different parallel sets, as established by trade card collector Frank Keetz. Burdick identified only one set (a blue and tan one in his book). But Keetz identified the blue and tan ink issue (H804-5A), a sepia colored set (H804-5B), and a second blue and tan color set with more detailed images (H804-5C). That produces a total of 12 cards. Rather, it was supposed to.
In his book, Keetz confirmed all four cards in both H804-5A and H804-5C, but he could not confirm the presence of the fourth card in H804-5B, the sepia colored set. The missing card was one titled F-O-U-L Ball, and depicted a fielder trying catch a ball while an umpire was hit by a flying bat with a batter/baserunner in the background.
It would, of course, make sense to exist since it was in the other two sets. But it was not previously confirmed. To date, I had never seen the presence of the fourth H804-5B card, either. Any checklisting of it seemed to be more of an assumption than a source actually confirming its presence.
Recently, though, collector David Strong was able to confirm the card with a picture sent to me via email. Shown here is that card, officially closing the book on the H804-5 series checklist. All four cards are now known to exist across the three sets.