H-Cards (Advertising)


Soapine Tennis Trade Card.jpgSo 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.

Specifically to tennis trade cards, it should be noted that many depict generic subjects with tennis rackets. The rackets, seemingly, were sometimes a mere fashion statement with subjects (usually women) not using them during an actual game. Many, like the one shown here, are simply holding a racket. Tennis cards featuring players in a game are typically going to be more desirable.

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 tennis 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.

Because of the large number of individual, standalone tennis trade cards, only sets are featured here.


205 western and southern life insurance tennis trade card
205. Western and Southern
Life Insurance

Trade Card No. 211 Cricket Baseball Scene
211. Baseball Scene (813)
Trade Cards

1888 At Our Picnic
Trade Cards
B359 Tennis Girl Trade Card
B359 Trade Cards
1888 Bufford Tennis Trade Card
1888 Bufford Sons Tennis

Crawford Shoes
Trade Cards
1881 George Hayes Tennis Trade Card
1881 George Hayes
Duotone Trade Cards
Chocolat Guerin-Boutron Trade Card Tennis
Guerin-Boutron Flowers Tennis Trade Card
Flowers Around the World
Guerin-Boutron Sports Trade Cards Tennis
1889 Guerin-Boutron
1878 Huntley and Palmers Tennis
1878 Huntley and Palmers
Huntley and Palmers Lawn Tennis Match Trade Card
1878 Huntley and Palmers
Biscuits Amusements
Around the World
Liebig Butterfly Chase Trade Card Tennis1904 Liebig
Butterfly Hunting
Liebig Children become People Tennis Trade Card
1895 Liebig
Children Become People
Liebig 1892 Children Games Tennis
1892 Liebig
Children’s Games
Liebig Tennis Trade Card Fleisch Extract
1900 Liebig
Fleisch Extract Sports
Liebig Hidden Objects Trade Card Tennis
1895 Liebig
Hidden Objects
Liebig In the World of Animals Trade Card
1921 Liebig
In the World of Animals
Liebig Tennis Trade Card
1895 Liebig Sports
Old Calabar Tennis Trade Card
1900 Old Calabar
1930 Rogers Peet Tris Speaker
1930 Rogers Peet
Soapine Tennis Trade Card
Soapine Trade Cards
Flournoy Football 1926 Spalding Champions
1926 Spalding Champions
kennesaw mountain landis men of america booklet
1928/1929 Stevens-Davis
Men of America

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