Obscure Card of the Month: The Game of Sports Baseball Card

The Obscure Card of the Month is a pair of tough baseball game cards

One of my favorite purchases at this year’s National was a 12-card set of game cards where various sports are represented. Because the cards are so rare and unknown, I thought the two baseball cards would be a worthy spotlight for the Obscure Cards of the Month.

The set is called The Game of Sports and it’s a matching game. I haven’t seen any conclusive dating on it but it appears to be a set issued sometime around 1900 — perhaps a little earlier or a little later.

There are a total of 12 cards in it with a pair of cards from each sport. And while the tennis and golf cards are particularly notable for American collectors, the baseball cards are obviously the key ones.

These cards are printed on a low-grade card stock and feature baseball depictions with only blue ink used. Backs are blank and, as mentioned, this was a matching game. Each sport is titled and also includes a letter corresponding to that sport from A through F. The baseball cards are assigned the letter E. The object of the game was not actually to accumulate the most pairs. Rather, the person with the two cards assigned the letter F (Tennis) at the end of the game was actually the winner.

The two baseball cars are somewhat interesting. One shows a player, perhaps a pitcher, preparing to throw a ball. The second shows two players involved in what looks like a game of catch. Interestingly, neither card depicts a batter.

That might seem odd but then again, international depictions of baseball were not always true to form. And as these cards were made in Germany, it is possible that a strong handle of the sport was not yet known — especially because baseball was still in relatively early years at that point.

These cards (as well as cards from the rest of the set) are exceedingly rare. I’ve researched them quite a bit online and have only found a picture of one other set. Thus, even determining a true value for them at this point is a difficult venture.

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