H-Cards (Advertising)



So 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. These cards had a few distinct characteristics.

First, the pre-war trade cards were often cartoonish and sometimes, humorish. 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.

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 cards in baseball, football, and hockey.

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.

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.

Catalogued Issues

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)
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
H804-11 Baseball Comics – 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”
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
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

Uncatalogued Blotters

1922 Brooklyn Dodgers vs. Collegians (Holy Cross) Blotter
1935 Buckley, Dement, and Company Blotter
Converse Athletic Shoes Blotter
1936 Cotton Belt Route Dizzy Dean Blotter
1921 Good Wood Boxes Babe Ruth Blotter
1915-1916 Horace Partridge Company Blotters
1920s Illinois College Baseball Team Blotter
J.M. Secord Get This Blotter
1930s John Hancock Life Insurance Casey at the Bat Blotter
1929 Kaufman and Fabry Chicago Cubs Blotter
1920s Korry-Krome Flexible Leather Soles Blotter
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
Professional Teachers Agency Baseball Ink Blotter
1910s St. Louis American League Del Pratt Blotter
1911 Stevens Firearms Blotters

Uncatalogued Photos

Adam Hats 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

Uncatalogued Miscellaneous Trade Cards

1912 Burke and Atwell Boston Red Sox Al Traver Cafe Restaurant
1934 Annis Furs Detroit Tigers
1920s Babe Ruth Barnstorming Card
1917 Baseball Uniform Chicago White Sox
1930s Bobby Veach Coal Company
1910s Cramer’s Isochromatic Photo Dry Plate Nap Lajoie
1910s Dr. Jaynes Expectorant Cut Outs
Enameline College Colors Paper Dolls (Multi-Sport)
1939 Father and Son Shoes
1912 Harper’s Whiskey Honus Wagner Trade Card
1910s Harry Coveleskie Cafe Business Card
1934 Herbert Hats Chicago Cubs Photo Premiums
1935 Howard Ehmke Company Schedule Card
1878 Huntley and Palmers Biscuits Sports Trade Cards (Multi-Sport/International)
1900s/1910s Jack Sutthoff Cafe Business Card
1886 McLaughlin Coffee XXXX Calendar Trade Card
1894 McLaughlin Coffee XXXX Paper Dolls (Multi-Sport)
McLaughlin Coffee XXXX America Baseball
1902 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company / Casey at the Bat
1910s Miles Medical Lou Criger Pamphlet
Nelson Morris Lily Leaf Lard Trade Card
1868-1870 Peck & Snyder
Rogers Peet Clothing (Multi-Sport)
1926 Spalding Champions (Multi-Sport)
1888 Sporting Times Cigars
1881 Tobin Baseball Scene with Dog
1882 Vogel Brothers Spring Fashions Baseball Scene
1938 WSYR Dick Porter

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