H-Cards (Trade Cards/Blotters)


Home Insurance Company of New YorkSo 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 sports 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.

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.


205 western and southern life insurance football trade card
205. Western and Southern
Life Insurance
Bronko Nagurski 1937 Blotter
1937 Bronko Nagurski
Wrestling Champion Blotter
Gandolfi Football Blotter
1933 Brown and Bigelow
Gandolfi Wines Blotters
College Football Schedule Blotter
College Schedule Blotters
Coontown C931 Curling Trade Card
Coontown C931
Trade Cards
Sun Life Insurance Football Trade Card
Football Boy Trade Card (H503)

1939 Gridiron Greats Blotters
Home Insurance Company of New York
1899-00 Harvard Football Boy
Trade Card (26)
Mentholatum Football Blotter
Mentholatum Football and
Hockey Blotters
R873 Football Trade Card - Running Through the Centre (1880s-1890s)
R873 Football Trade Cards
Richards-Wilcox Football Trade Card (1913)
Trade Cards
1930s Rogers Peet Clothing
Royal Typewriter Football Blotter
Royal Portable Typewriter
Football Blotter
Flournoy Football 1926 Spalding Champions
1926 Spalding Champions
Spalding football scrap
1896 Spalding Die-Cuts
Hallet and Davis Pianos Football Bookmark
Sports Bookmark
Trade Cards (HD8F)
h572 men of america walter camp football
1928/1929 Stevens-Davis
Men of America

Striped Uniforms
Trade Cards
1925 Thomas Murphy Football Blotter
1925 Thomas Murphy
Tom Sawyer 1920s-1930s Football Blotter.jpg
Tom Sawyer Clothing
Football Blotter

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