H-Cards (Advertising)


prewarcards-h804-6-forbes-company-trade-card-a-flySo you’ve heard of T-Cards, E-Cards, and R-Cards. But, what exactly are H-Cards? In short, H-Cards are cards advertising and trade cards as designated in the American Card Catalog.

Advertising trade cards are generally seen as the earliest sports cards. These cards had a few distinct characteristics.

First, the pre-war trade cards were often cartoonish and sometimes, humorous. Second, these were cards that were used by businesses to promote their company. This description calling them a sort of business card is spot on.

Another popular characteristic of the cards was that they were often shared by different businesses. It wasn’t uncommon to see one card depicting a baseball scene with a business name on it and then a second card with the same scene but a different business. These cards often had a blank label or spot where the business using them could affix their stamp or name.

H-Cards are often printed on thinner stock and a bit flimsy. As collectors did for other issues, these advertising cards were often collected and sometimes glued into albums. Thus, it isn’t uncommon to find them with some sort of back damage.

The cards also sometimes had special numbers or lettering printed on them. Indirectly, this helps serve as a way of categorizing them. Cards that have numbers or letter/number combinations printed on them have been added next to them in the list below in parentheses.

Trade cards are not relegated to any specific time period. You will find cards with these designations from the 1800s through the post-war era. But generally when collectors are talking about trade cards, they are referring to the pre-war era when they became popular in the 1880s and 1890s. These types of cards are significant often because they depict some of the earliest pictures of various sports. Often, these are recognized as having some of the earliest known sports cards.

Finally, it is important to note that additional classifications have formally/informally been added to the hobby since Jefferson Burdick’s cataloging efforts in the American Card Catalog. Notably, in his H804 Baseball Comics Series, Burdick went up to H804-8 before classifying all others in that series as H804-9. Likely, he found them too numerous to try to continue their classification.

Frank Keetz, arguably the most famous of all baseball trade card collectors, continued Burdick’s work, creating a classification set that went beyond H804-8 in his popular and well-known book, Baseball Advertising Trade Cards 3rd Edition. With his permission, his classifications have been provided here as part of the H804 series. His book is no longer in print but can be seen electronically on the Schenectady Digital History Archive.

In addition to trade cards, this H-Card section also includes miscellaneous ink blotters that do not fit into any other categories. Ink blotters were used to absorb excess ink from old fountain pens so because of that, you will often find those with large ink spots on them. Here’s a more in-depth look at blotters.

Catalogued Issues

1928/1929 H572 Stevens-Davis Men of America Booklets
1947-48 H801-3 Smiths Oakland Oaks
1910 H801-7 Old Mill Cabinets
1917 H801-8 Boston Store
1916 H801-9 Globe Clothing
H804-1 Baseball Comics – Baby Talk (some with No. 5)
1888 H804-2 Baseball Comics – Vertical Brownies
1888 H804-3 Baseball Comics – Buffords Sons with No. 801
H804-4 Baseball Comics – Capadura Cigars
H804-5 Baseball Comics – Colored Players
1878 H804-6 Baseball Comics – Forbes Company
H804-7 Baseball Comics – Merchants Gargling Oil
H804-8 Baseball Comics – Sporting Life
H804-10 Baseball Comics – Corner Clefs
1882 H804-11 Baseball Comics – Cosack / Circled Position
H804-12 Baseball Comics – Young Boy
H804-13 Baseball Comics – Old Style, New Style (C929)
H804-14 Baseball Comics – Big White Shoes
H804-15A Baseball Comics – Red Border Position (9.)
H804-15B Baseball Comics – Red Border Position
H804-16 Baseball Comics – Forbes “Injury”
1887 H804-17 Baseball Comics – Blueish-Green (313)
H804-18 Baseball Comics – Red Socks (B935)
H804-19 Baseball Comics – Horizontal Brownies (R851)
H804-20 Baseball Comics – Western & Southern Life Insurance
H804-21 Baseball Comics – Tobin Major League Players (56.)
H804-22 Baseball Comics – Tobin Major League Players (147.)
H804-23 Baseball Comics – Tobin (149)
H804-24 Baseball Comics – Ball (C-679)
1885 H804-25 Baseball Comics – Hanging Sheet
H804-26 Baseball Comics – Large Card (201.)
H804-27 Baseball Comics – Twelvetrees
H804-28 Baseball Comics – Large Head
H804-29 Baseball Comics – Read the Sporting Life
H804-30 Baseball Comics – Planet (R 809)
H804-32 Baseball Comics – “9” No Period (9)
H804-33 Baseball Comics – Gold Medal Coffee
H804-34 Baseball Comics – Pink and Blue
H804-36 Baseball Comics – “W.D.”
H804-38 Baseball Comics – An Accurate Barometer
H804-39 Baseball Comics – Duke’s Cigarettes Cameo Studies
H804-40 Baseball Comics – Penfold’s Comical Cards
H804-41 Baseball Comics – Girl Series
H807-1 Virginia Brights Black Stocking Nine Cabinets
H807-2 Virginia Brights Polka Dot Nine
1886 H812 New York Base Ball Club
1912-14 H813 Boston Garter
1888 H814 Duke Presidential Club Cabinets
1896 H818 Spalding Die-Cuts
1911 H998 Western Playground Association
HB1-42 Mechanical Bank Trade Cards
HD8F Sports Bookmark Trade Cards

Trade Cards not in ACC but Catalogued by Frank Keetz


A Double Curve
1887-93 Baseball Currency
1888 Base Ball at our Picnic (Multi-Sport)
Base Ball Outfits
Bases Cleaned
Chicago Herald Die-Cut Player
1919 Cincinnati Reds
Colchester Shoes
Dr. Pepper Good for Life
E.J. Hoehn’s Base Ball Team
The Enterprising Niggers
E.R. Coburn Base Ball and Polo Goods
Everybody’s Rooting For
First Inning
Gaining his Point
Gets There Just the Same
Glen Burn Coal Scatter Tag
Haas Remedy
1912 Harper’s Whiskey Honus Wagner
Harwood and Sons National Game Trade Cards
Hi Henry’s Premium Minstrels Baseball Contest
Howland Baseball and Cricket Goods
1935 It’s Time for Pabst
Keep the Ball Rolling
Les Sports Modernes (International/Multi-Sport)
Major League Ball Indoor Base Ball Game
McLaughlin Coffee XXXX America Baseball (Children of Nations Set – K66)
1902 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company / Casey at the Bat
Making a Hit
Maltosia Bluffs
National Bloomers of Boston
National League Chew
New York Biscuit Company Brownies Have Arrived
1929 Nu Grape / Nu Icy Philadelphia Athletics Premium
1906 Noxall Shirts
One Ball
Our Boys School Suits

1890s Page Fence Giants
1868-1870 Peck & Snyder Cards
Phantom Baseball
Returning from the War
Sage and Company Boston
See the Man Catch the Ball
1889 Sporting Life Girl
Sporting Times Baseball Scene
Sure Catch Sticky Fly Paper
Taking Things as they Come
The Three Champions
1882 Vogel Brothers Spring Fashions Baseball Scene
Waist Ball
Wampler House
Wanted, a Pin
We Lead but Never Follow (136)
William Vogel Base Ball Combination Room
You Would be a Great Card in a Dime Museum

Untitled (Numbered by Keetz – numbers skipped indicate cards printed after 1939)

201. ‘One Ball’ Baby
202. Six Boys Playing

203. Stecher Lithograph Company
204. Elephant and Monkeys
205. Western and Southern Life Insurance (Multi-Sport)
206. Baseball Scene with Crossed Bats and Flowers (22)
207. Young Batter with Blue/Orange Socks
208. Nelson Morris Pigs Playing Baseball
209. Smiling Girl with Bat and Ball
210. (B359) Trade Cards
211. Baseball Scene (813)
212. Buffords Boy with Bat and Brown Uniform (626)
213. Three Brownies with Bats (H717)
214. Boss Pat Cases
215. 1881 Tobin Baseball Scene with Dog
216. 1886 McLaughlin Coffee XXXX Calendar Trade Card
218. Goodwear and Kinder-Garten
219. Girl with Flower Wreaths and Baseball Scene
220. Bufford Boys Dancing
221. Monarch Catsup Batter
222. Brownies with a Pea Pod
223. Boy Sitting and Reading
224. Schnull and Krag Baseball Scene
225. Huntley and Palmers Biscuits Sports Trade Cards (Multi-Sport/International)
226. Boy Catching Ball Close-Up
227. Japanese Batter and Catcher (International)
228. Girl with Fireplace
229. Ball Hitting Player in Nose
230. Multi-Sport and Equipment
231. Cats Playing Baseball (23)
232. Imperial Crown Perfumery Supplies Baseball
233. Sad Cartoon Fielder
234. Bremner’s / Eureka Bread Baseball Boys
235. Boy and Girl Sitting
236. Waverly School Shoe Baseball Scene
237. Old World, New World
238. The Sporting Goods Dealer
239. Blue and White Batter
240. Enameline College Colors Paper Dolls (Multi-Sport)
241. Field Aerial View

Uncatalogued Trade Cards

1912 Burke and Atwell Boston Red Sox Al Traver Cafe Restaurant
1934 Annis Furs Detroit Tigers
1920s Babe Ruth Barnstorming Card
1887-1920s Baines Shield Cards
1917 Baseball Uniform Chicago White Sox
1930s Bobby Veach Coal Company
1880s Brown’s Iron Bitters Trade Card
1888 Bufford Baseball and Roller Skating Trade Cards
Card Fiends Trade Cards
1910s Cramer’s Isochromatic Photo Dry Plate Nap Lajoie
1910s Dr. Jaynes Expectorant Cut Outs
1930s Dr. Thompson’s Eye Water ‘A Home Run’ Trade Card
1939 Father and Son Shoes
Grab the Ball, Jimmy Trade Card
1867 Gray Eagle Base Ball Club Trade Card
1910s Harry Coveleskie Cafe Business Card
1935 Howard Ehmke Company Schedule Card
1941 Huskies Cereal Trade Card
1900s/1910s Jack Sutthoff Cafe Business Card
1800s May Yet Be / Wed A President
1910s Miles Medical Lou Criger Pamphlet
1888 Old Judge An Interesting Interview Baseball Cabinets Trade Card
1900s Richards-Wilcox Calendar Girl Trade Cards (Multi-Sport)
1930s Rogers Peet Clothing (Multi-Sport)
Runkel’s Cocoa and Chocolates Trade Card
1888 S.B. Kitchel Liniment Baseball Trade Card
1926 Spalding Champions (Multi-Sport)
1888 Sporting Times Cigars
1938 WSYR Dick Porter
1894 Z9 McLaughlin Coffee XXXX Paper Dolls (Multi-Sport)

Uncatalogued Blotters

1934 Blue Valley Butter Blotter
1922 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Collegians (Holy Cross) Blotter
1926 Brown and Bigelow Casey at the Bat Blotter
1935 Buckley, Dement, and Company Blotter
Connie Mack Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Blotter
Converse Athletic Shoes Blotter
1936 Cotton Belt Route Dizzy Dean Blotter
1921 Good Wood Boxes Babe Ruth Blotter
1913-1916 Horace Partridge Company Blotters
1930 Illinois Central Cubs and White Sox Schedule Blotter
1920s Illinois College Baseball Team Blotter
J.M. Secord Get This Blotter
John Hancock Life Insurance Casey at the Bat Blotter
1929 Kaufman and Fabry Chicago Cubs Blotter
1920s Korry-Krome Flexible Leather Soles Blotter
1930s Lamar Insurance Babe Ruth Ink Blotter
1927 Marine Corps vs. Waseda Baseball Blotter
1927 McKibbin Leather Sports Jackets New York Yankees Blotter
1930s Miller Tires Frankie Frisch Blotter
‘My Boss Said Play Ball’ Blotter
1920s PA Women’s Christian Temperance Union Walter Johnson Blotter
Paw-Nee Oats Blotters
Professional Teachers Agency Baseball Ink Blotter
1910s St. Louis American League Del Pratt Blotter
1911 Stevens Firearms Blotters

Uncatalogued Photos

1930s Adam Hats Photo Premiums
1934 Herbert Hats Chicago Cubs Photo Premiums
1920s Otto Treulich and Son Grover Alexander
1920/1921 Pathe Freres Phonograph Company Babe Ruth Photo Premium
1910s W.D. Schmidt Ed Walsh Premium Photo

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