Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley among the keys in the N28 Allen & Ginter Set
The legendary rifle shooters have some of the most valuable cards in the popular 19th century multi-sport set
When it comes to the popular N28 Allen & Ginter tobacco card set, it’s clear that the most popular cards are the ones featuring baseball players. That ten-card subset includes some of the game’s earliest stars, including Cap Anson and King Kelly, and many collectors chase only those cards.
That’s kind of a shame because there’s actually plenty of intriguing figures that litter the checklist. This was, after all, a set featuring champions in all sorts of sports. But the baseball interest is understandable and, as a whole, that is where you will generally find the most expensive cards.
However, two sneaky valuable cards in the set feature rifle shooters of all subjects — the legendary Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody. Their cards are valued similar to the cards of the common baseball players.
Oakley was a famous trick shooter, winning all sorts of competitions and such. She began competitively shooting at a young age and later went on to join Buffalo Bill on touring events. Buffalo Bill, of course, a soldier who later on to produce wild west-themed shows. Cody had a storied life as a Pony Express rider, Union soldier in the Civil War, and a wild west legend.
Cards for the pair have drawn many collectors and do not come cheap. There are a few reasons for that.
First, of course, is the popularity of Oakley and Cody. Sure, non-sports collecting isn’t for everyone. But there is certainly a home for those cards when they feature legendary figures such as this duo.
The cards are also quite rare. They aren’t impossible to find and Allen and Ginter N28s routinely pop up on eBay and in other auctions. Cody and Oakley, too, are popular enough that you can usually find a few for sale without looking too hard. But the PSA population reports, showing only a little more than 100 currently graded for each, indicate that they aren’t exactly commonplace.
Oh, and the ‘rookie card’ craze doesn’t help here if you’re looking for a cheap score. Both Oakley and Cody have earlier cabinet cards. But as those are really more along the lines of photographs, many collectors treat these as rookie cards, even if that isn’t necessarily true. Buffalo Bill, for example, has an earlier card in the ridiculously tough N167 Old Judge set.
Finally, another important factor is that neither subject has many trading cards. Oakley is one of several women in the less popular N184 Kimball Champions set (believed to have been produced a year earlier in 1887) but these are really two of the few contemporary cards for each — especially in the 19th century.
So how much are these cards? In the past, you could sometimes find them at bargain prices but that’s mostly dried up these days. Today, it is hard to find these cards in low-grade condition starting at much less than $150. Compare that to commons in the set that typically start around $15 in lesser condition. Very low-grade cards can sometimes be had for a bit less but that’s a fairly low bar. Decent copies will run closer to $250-$300.
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