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Feature Card Set of the Month

The Allen & Ginter's Sets.

Allen & Ginter was a tobacco company of Richmond, Virginia, formed by John Allen and Lewis Ginter in 1875 and were one of the pioneer's of the tobacco card industry.

As with other tobacco companies of the era, the cards were inserted into packets of cigarettes to act as stiffeners in order to prevent crushing of the cigarettes. Due to the thickness of these cards, most of them have stood the test of time and can usually can be found in pretty good shape.

Allen & Ginter's produced many sets of cards depicting all sorts of sports people and celebrities of the era, including three notable sets that featured boxers, or pugilists of the time. All three sets were titled "The World's Champions", one produced in 1887 (Catalogue No. N28), and the other two in 1888 (N29 & N43).

One of the first cigarette card sets depicting boxer's, the 1887 set were a very colorful set featuring not only pugilists of the time, but as the checklist on the rear shows, Baseballers, Oarsmen, Rifle Shooters, Billiard Players, Wrestlers and Pool Players. From a total of 50 appearing in the set, 10 were from the pugilistic world.


1888 A & G (N43)


The lithography of the cards is excellent and most cards feature a very clear, and bright image.

The 1888 (N29) set is a less appealing and rarer set than it's predecessor. This collection was titled World's Champions - Second Series and had virtually the same design. The main difference between this set and the set of the previous year was the absence of the Allen & Ginter's name on the front of the card, and the inclusion of the sportsman's profession (ie Pugilist).

This set also featured 50 athletes, including 8 pugilsits. These cards don't feature as big names, but are seemingly more difficult to find than their predecessors.

The final set in the Allen & Ginter series featuring boxers was brought out in 1888 also titled World's Champions - Second Series, and was issued the catalogue no N43.

 
John L Sullivan / Frank Murphy
1887 - Allen & Ginter's / 1888 - Allen & Ginter's
"The World's Champions" (N28 / N29)





1888 - Allen & Ginter's "The World's Champions" (N29).
This picture shows an album page from the set.

These very colorful and large (3-1/4" X2-7/8") cards were packed inside Allen & Ginter's packs of 20 Richmond Straight Cut No 1 Cigarettes. There were 50 sports stars of the time featured, including 8 pugilists - all identical names to the previous N29 set released. The N43 cards basically featured the N29 picture within an over-sized card and had the N29 boxer's image placed in front of fancy backgrounds.

All three sets of cards have checklist on the back, which are often damaged, as it was popular to glue them into albums at the time.

The John L Sullivan card in the N28 series is possibly one of the most sought after in the Allen & Ginter sets and can command upwards of hundreds of dollars in good condition.

These cards were also featured in what are now highly collectible albums. Redeemable coupons were inserted into each packet of cigarettes which could be collected and sent in in order to collect one of these albums. It was not uncommon for card collectors to cut up these albums for the cards that were missing in their collections.

In 1890 Allen & Ginter's, and another major tobacco producer at the time, Duke Cigarettes merged to create the American Tobacco Co. This therefore ended any further production of tobacco cards under the Allen & Ginter's name.


1888 - Allen & Ginter's "The World's Champions" (N29).
This picture shows an album page from the set.
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