Rare Berliner Morgenpost Sports Set an Exception in Otherwise Non-Sports Series

This unique c1900 sports card set has early depictions of sports and is an incredibly rare find

Earlier, I wrote about some of my recent pickups over the past two months. But one I didn’t mention was a rare sports card set that I wanted to devote a bit of dedicated space to.

The Berliner Morgenpost was a German newspaper that printed trading cards. The cards were similar to Stollwerck’s Chocolate cards and some other international sets in that they were issued in smaller subsets. Unlike Stollwerck’s six-card sets, most of the Berliner Morgenpost sets that I have seen were limited to five cards each.

From what I have seen, the sets are almost entirely non-sports issues. Many depict buildings and scenery from around the world, including a very cool set of U.S. landmarks, such as the White House and the Statue of Liberty. But one earlier set is actually a series of sports cards. To date, it is the only sports set I have seen from Berliner Morgenpost, though the cards are rare enough that others could exist and simply be under my radar.

The cards picture great color images of five sports — tennis, cricket, soccer, hockey, and croquet. They have a non-standard shape but are not outlandish by ‘card’ standards, measuring roughly 2 1/8″ wide by 4 3/4″ tall. All pictures are laid out vertically and backs are blank. The tops include a small mention of Berliner Morgenpost.

I got my hands on this five-card sports set and was immediately intrigued by it for a few reasons.

First, the cards are titled as Serie No. 4, seemingly making it one of the earlier sets issued by Berliner Morgenpost. And given that Serie No. 3 cards were issued in 1901 (a fact I stumbled upon in researching these cards further), these would appear to come from the same rough timeframe, making them quite early depictions.

Also of note is that these cards are hand cut as opposed to the other factory cut cards issued by the company. Where they came from, exactly, is a mystery. However, they are legitimate cards and not merely picture cutouts, as indicated by the Serie number and also the fact that the cards themselves are individually numbered as B1 through B5. ‘B’ in this case references ‘Bild,’ the German word for picture.

Finally, they are the only ones I have seen. While I have seen duplicates of other Berliner Morgenpost cards online, I have not seen this specific set of sports cards offered (or even pictured/referenced) elsewhere. And while I love owning stuff that is very rare, I am hoping to find another set of these somewhere, if only to hopefully learn more about them.

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