A New, Undiscovered N694 Risido-Like Card Sells in Recent Auction

An eighth subject in the rare 19th century set has surfaced — sort of

The N694 Risido Cigars Women’s Baseball Players cards are among the tougher 19th century baseball cards out there. It’s one of several sets featuring female baseball players and they are extremely difficult to track down.

If you’ve never heard of this set, you wouldn’t be alone. The cards are rare and hardly ever discussed. But if you have ever seen one of the cards, you might instantly recognize the images. Or you might at least notice the similarity of images from other sets in the same era, such as the Dixie and Virginia Brights ‘Girl Players’ sets (N48) or the Virginia Brights cabinets (H807-1). All of those sets feature the same kind of images — females that are not believed to be real players in a variety of baseball poses.

The checklists in these sets generally appear to be somewhat incomplete, though, I’ve taken a stab at the N48s. But the overall ‘theme’ seems to be one of nine cards to a set, as best I can tell. Many will quickly point to the N48s and declare there to be more than nine in the set. After all, there are certainly more than nine different N48s. But N48s, as I’ve previously broken down here, include a total of five different types and at least eight different sets between the Dixie Cigarettes and Virginia Brights brands. That American Card Catalog designation merely groups many sets and assigns the alphanumeric N48 label to them. Many collectors have lumped all N48 cards into one large set but that isn’t really correct.

Anywho, before I turn this into another N48 article, I want to focus on the Risido set. These cards are classified as N694 and were issued with or for Risido Cigars. They’ve got the same style of pictures, really, and the backs have an advertisement for Risido.

While N48s are rare, Risidos are actually a bit rarer. The cards are so rare, in fact, that there’s not even a known checklist for the full set — and as opposed to N48s, there’s only one known type/set of Risidos that I’m aware of.

So far, a total of seven different Risido cards are known. But recently, the latest Vintage Non-Sports Auction included what looks like an eighth. It sold for just over $350, including the Buyer’s Premium.

The card, shown here, pictures a catcher and a batter and is, almost appropriately titled, with the print, “Catcher & Bater.” The word ‘batter’ is given only one T and is one of the easier spotted errors you will ever see. It’s also one of the images that was also used in the Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine Cabinet series.

Now, this card certainly utilizes the same design as the N694 Risido cards, both in term of picture, border, and titling. However, a few things make it a bit different. First, there’s what looks like a skinned back. As stated in the listing, the back has paper adhered to it and is thicker than a regular N694. The card is also hand cut, whereas regular Risidos are not. But the thing that stands out to me the most is the speckled design in the background of the border. Other Risido cards don’t have those dots.

It’s impossible to tell what we’ve got here, of course, given the rarity of N694 cards. But it could be a cut from an advertising poster or some other display — those sorts of alterations were quite common, of course, in 19th century issues.

What the card is, really, is not the most intriguing part for me, though. Critically, assuming this was part of some advertising poster or other display for the set, we’ve got a tepid confirmation of the card’s existence and a possible addition to the checklist. If the Catcher & Bater card does, in fact, exist in the N694 Risido set, that would push the checklist to eight.

At the same time, while I suspect that is the case, I’m also a bit hesitant on checklisting this as a formal eighth card in the set until a more ‘typical’ N694 Risido version of it comes along. After all, the possibility could exist that a picture of the card was used in an album or poster but never formally released. Thus, I have mentioned this card as only a potential eighth subject in the checklist of the site’s profile for this set.

Whatever it is, it’s a fascinating piece of ephemera from the 19th century that is linked to an incredibly rare set.

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