H-Cards (Trade Cards/Blotters)


H820So 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.

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.


Lefty Gomez Adam Hats.JPG
Adam Hats Photo Premiums

Barber-Ellis Ink Blotters
Atlantic and Pacific Tea Hockey Trade Card.jpg
1880s Bufford
Ice Skating Trade Cards
1878/1882 Bufford Lithos (H820)
Bufford Hockey Boy Trade Card (903)
Bufford Winter Scenes
Trade Cards (903)
Diamantine Rud. Starcke
Hockey Trade Card
Diamantine Schuhputz Hockey Trade Card
Diamantine-Schuhputz /
Trade Cards
Diamantine-Schuhputz Wintersports Erdal Kwak.jpg
1928 Erdal-Kwak Olympics
Trade Card
Mayer's Hockey Trade Card
Mayer’s Shoes Trade Cards
Mentholatum Hockey Blotter.jpg
Mentholatum Hockey Blotters 
Richards-Wilcox Hockey Trade Card
Trade Cards
1930 Rogers Peet 22 Frank Boucher.jpg
Rogers Peet Clothing
ace bailey stoodleigh
1932-33 Stoodleigh’s

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