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The Two Dempsey's

This month I have decided to combine the two great pugilists of the past who shared the same name.

As boxer's however, they couldn't have been more different. Both are legendary Hall of Famer's and the greats of the era, if not all time. But that's where the similarities end.

Jack Dempsey "The Nonpareil" was a lightweight & middleweight pugilist who fought in the latter part of the 19th century (1883 to 1895), and was considered one of the great ring artists of all time. Dempsey captured the world lightweight title in 1884 by knocking out George Fulljames in 22 rounds, and won the middleweight title with a win over George LaBlanche in 1886. Many who saw him fight claim that with a bit more weight he could have had John L's measure.

Jack Dempsey "The Manassa Mauler" was a heavyweight who fought in the early part of he 20th century (1914 to 1927), and wasn't considered for his ring art, but for he sheer power and ferociousness he brought to every fight. Dempsey captured the heavyweight title with a three round knockout win over Jess Willard in 1919.

The one thing they did have in common however, was that none of their real names was Jack.

Jack Dempsey "The Nonpareil"

The Nonpareil, or "without equal" was a name given to Jack Dempsey because of his sublime boxing skills he displayed. Born on December 15, 1862 in Ireland, Dempsey whose real name was John Edward Kelly came to America as a child, and although an accomplished wrestler, fought his first professional fight at the age of twenty.

Dempsey would go on to win his first 14 fights, and as it says on the back of his 1887 Lorillard Mechanics Delight card, had not been beaten, the closest to defeat was being held to four draws.

Dempsey eventually lost by way of KO to George LaBlanche (who was also a popular figure on cards of the 19th century) in 1889 (in the 32nd round!), but was allowed to retain the title as LaBlanche knocked Dempsey out with what was delcared an illegal punch.

He held title for almost five yers until the great Bob Fitzsimmons ko'ed him in 13 rounds on January 14th 1891 to capture the title.

Dempsey mainly appeared on cards during the 19th century, with a few releases early in the 20th century. Unfortunately, probably due to his namesake's popularity in American and world sport, The Nopareil Dempsey's appearance on cards halted in 1910. To collect a "set" of Dempsey The Nonpareil cards is a very costly and time consuming exercise, regardless of their condition. The Nonpareil Dempsey is a very popular figure with collectors and apart from John L Sullivan would have the most valuable card in any set in which he appears.

Jack Dempsey "The Nonpareil" died on November 2nd 1895 from tuberculosis, only 10 months after his final fight, but went down as one of the greatest not only middleweights, but boxers that has ever graced the ring.

Dempsey's Classic Pose

Jack Dempsey "The Nonpareil" Cards

A selection of cards featuring Jack Dempsey "The Nonpareil".

Pictures of cards coming soon.

1887 Goodwin & Co. Old Judge (N174) - 4 cards
1887 Goodwin & Co. Gypsy Queen (N174)
1887 Allen & Ginter's “The World’s Champions” (N28)
1887 Lorillard’s Mechanics Delight Long Cut (N269)
1888 WS Kimball & Co’s Cigs “Champions Of Games
           & Sports” (N184) - 2 variations
          (with and without company name)
1888 Goodwin & Co. Old Judge/Gypsy Queen
          Cigarettes “Champions” (N162)
1888 SF Hess & Co (N332)
1890 Mayo Cut Plug (N310)
1893 Lorillard Red Cross (N266) (v Fitzsimmons)
1910 American Tobacco Co "Champion Athlete &
          Prizefighter Series (T220) (Mecca/Tolstoi)
1910 American Tobacco Co "Champion Athlete &
          Prizefighter Series (T220) Silver Border

1887 N269 Lorillard card back

Jack "The Manassa Mauler" Dempsey

Jack Dempsey, whose real name was William Harrison Dempsey had two brother's who also fought under the name Jack Dempsey in honour of Jack Dempsey The Nonpareil.

Dempsey would often challenge men to fights in bars before having his first professional fight in 1914 with a drawn decision against Young Herman.

Dempsey's first few years were sporadic with a loss and 2 draws against Willie Meehan in 1917 and a first round knockout loss, and the only one of his career to Fireman Jim Flynn in the same year.

Shortly afterwards, Dempsey employed Jack Kearns and fought up the ranks with a string of first round knockouts between 1917 and 1918, before knocking out the much bigger Jess Willard in 1919 for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Willard went down a total of 7 times in the first round before succumbing to Dempsey's aggression and power in the third.

Jack went on to victories over fellow Hall of Famers Georges Carpentier (KO4) and Tommy Gibbons (W15). The Carpentier fight broke fight records for gate receipts with a crowd of over 80,000 turning up to see the one sided battle.

In 1923, Dempsey fought one of the most bizarre fights in the history of boxing against Luis Firpo from Argentina. After knocking Firpo down seven times in the first round,

"The Manassa Mauler"

Firpo hit back and knocked down Dempsey twice, one of them seeing Dempsey sail through the ropes and onto the press tables. Jack finally won the battle by knocking Firpo out in the second round.

Dempsey lost his title against the skillful "Fighting Marine" Gene Tunney with a 10 round decision in 1926. Dempsey would face Tunney again in front of over 100,000 spectators the following year in a rematch after knocking out Jack Sharkey in seven rounds earlier in the year in a fight that would be forever known as "the battle of the long count".

Tunney was knocked down in the seventh round, but as Dempsey didn't go into the neutral corner immediately, the referee didn't start to place the count on Tunney who had already been down for a number of seconds. Tunney finally got up on the count of nine, boxed Dempsey for the remained of the fight and won a ten round decision. This fight was portrayed in many cards throughout the 20th century, and to this day remains a popular subject. Dempsey retired from the fight game a few months later.

Obviously due to his popularity of the time, Dempsey appeared in no less than two dozen boxing related sets in the 1920's alone, coming from the US, UK, Canada, Cuba, Germany and even a very colorful card from Rich's in Denmark in 1927.

Dempsey was a popular figure for boxing cards, and still is even to this day. Many collectors go after Dempsey's American and UK releases, but there are also plenty of cards from around the world that feature Dempsey. The German card companies especially had a fascination with Dempsey (and Tunney for that matter)

Without a doubt, Dempsey's 1933 Goudey Sport Kings card holds top place amongst all the Dempsey cards.

Jack Dempsey amassed a record of 80 fights, with 60 wins (50 ko's), 6 losses, 4 draws and 6 no decisions. Dempsey was the Mike Tyson of the early 20th century with his ferocious fighting style and like Tyson a massive drawcard for the fight fans. A very colorful and popular figure, Dempsey also managed fighters, officiated matches and owned a popular New York restaurant. He also served in World War II as a Commander in the Coast Guard.

Jack Dempsey died in 1983 at the ripe old age of 87 and to this day remains one of the most loved American sportsmen of all time.

Jack Dempsey "The Manassa Mauler" Cards

A selection of cards featuring "The Manassa Mauler". I've also included a few "game" cards just for the
fun of it. Also keep in mind that there are many more cards avaiable if "variations" to each set are taken into account (eg back variations, some cards had large and small versions of the same set, etc).

Pictures of cards coming soon.

There are also various cards featuring the fights between Jack Demspey and Gene Tunney. Unfortunately for Dempsey fans, he lost both fights to Tunney, and as such is usually portrayed either on the canvas, or the image of his back on these cards. I have therefore included these cards within a seperate table.

Individual Cards:
1920s Romeo y Julieta (Cuban Cigars) white border
1920s Romeo y Julieta (Cuban Cigars) black border
1920s Strip Card W519/W521
1920s Reel Peppermints (fight pose)
1920s Reel Peppermints (standing)
1920s Underwood & Underwood
1920s Toccos Egyptian Cigarettes
1920s Comet Chocolate (Spain)
1920s Oh Boy Gum
1920s Reunion Cigarettes (Germany)
1921 Strip Card - W551
1921 Strip Card W516-1
1921 Felix Potin (3rd Collection)
1922 Comic Life (with Donald McKinley)
1922 The Champion Magazine "Sporting Champions"
1922 Boy's Magazine boxers
1923 The Rocket Magazine "Famous Knock-outs"
          (v Carpentier)
1923 Burstein Isaacs & Co "Famous Prizefighters"
1923 Union Jack "Monachs of the Ring"
1923 Willard Chocolates (V137)
1923 Olympia Games Ltd
1923 Strip Card - W515-1
1923 Strip Card - W580
1923 Wesley Andrews Inc (issued at training camp)
1926 Spalding Champions
1926 Strip Card - W511
1926 Strip Card - W512
1926 Strip Card - W560
1925 Strip Card - W529 (incl many variations)
1926 Grieling "Sportsalbum" Serie Boxer (Germany)
1926 Gartmann Schokolade (Chocolate)
          Serie 585 Boxer (Germany)
1926 Casanova Cigaretten (large & small size) (fight pose 1) (Germany)
1926 Casanova Cigaretten (large & small size) (fight pose 2) (Germany)
1926 Casanova Cigaretten with Carpentier (large & small size) (Germany)
c1926 Prestine-Velox (France)
1926/27 Aguilitas (Cuba)
1927 Rich's "Baremle Sportsfolk" (Denmark)
1928 John Player & Son "Pugilists In Action"
1928 Ogden's Ltd "Pugilists In Action"
1928 WA & AC Churchman "Men of the Moment"
1928 Amatller Chocolate "Boxe" (Spain) - 3 cards
1929 Godfrey Phillips "Sporting Champions"
1929 Jasmatzi-Constantin Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 Josetti Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 Manoli Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 Salem Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 Sulima Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 Walkdorf-Astoria Cigarettes "The World in Pictures"
1929 La Morena
1930 Carmelos Estrella (blank, black and blue backs) (Cuba)
1930 Rippled Wheat (USA) 1930's Reunion Cigarettes (Germany)
1930's Turquino (Cuba) 1934 Cigarrera Bigott (Venezuela)
1932 Cloetta Chocolate (Sweden)
1930 Rogers Peet
1930 MP & Co. Ray-O-Print
1930 Singleton & Cole Ltd "Famous Boxers"
1932 Godfrey Phillips "Personalities of Today"
1932 La Pie Qui Chante (France)(fight pose)(ad back)
1932 La Pie Qui Chante (France)(fight pose)(bio back)
1932 La Pie Qui Chante (France)(with Tilden)(ad back)
1932 La Pie Qui Chante (France)(with Tilden)(bio back)
1932 U.S. Caramel
1933 Goudey Sport Kings
1933 Trumpf Chocolate (Germany)
1933 Bravour Zigarettenfabrik (Germany)
1935 United Tobacco Co "World Famous
           Boxers" (English & Afrikaan)
1937 Doughnut Corporation of America
          "Thrilling Moments"
1937 Globo Chewing Gum
1938 F.C. Cartledge "Famous Prize Fighters"
           (matte finish)
1938 F.C. Cartledge "Famous Prize Fighters"
           (gloss finish)
1938 WA & AC Churchman "Boxing Personalities"
1945 Leister Game Company "Autographs"
           Game Card
1946/47 Montiel "Los Reyes Del Deporte" (Cuba)
1947 D. Cummings & Son "Famous Fighers"
1948 Leaf Gum
1948 Topps Magic Photo "Boxing Champions"
1951 Baytch Bros
1953 A & J Donaldson Ltd. "Sport Favorites"
1954 Topps Scoop (v Willard)
1954 Topps Scoop (v Willard) (with coating)
1954 A & BC Ltd "All Sport Series"
1956 Gum Products Inc "Adventure Series"
1961 Swedish Rekord Journal (with Bo Borg)
1962 Chix "Sports Through the Ages" (Wrestlers on
          front,, bio of Dempsey on rear)
1967 Panini "Campioni Dello Sport"
1977 Sportscaster Card (Red) - 2 cards
           (1 vs Carpentier)
1979 Sportscaster Card (Green)
1985 Whoozit Trivia Game Card (with others)
1985 Puzzlers Game Card (Canada)
1991 AW Sports "Boxing"
1991 AW Sports "Boxing" (v Firpo)
1991 Victoria Gallery "Boxing Champions" (2 cards)
1911 Ideal Albums "Boxing Greats"
1991 Kayo Cards
1992 W.R. Priddy Antiques "Famous Boxers" (color, grey or color line background variations)
1993 Ritchie & Co
1993 Brown's Boxing
1993 John M Brindley "World Boxers - Series 3" (Bob Hoare Characatures)
1994 Brown's Boxing
1995 Grolier "Life in America"
1998 Futura "Boxing Legends"
2002 Rockwell "The Great Heavyweights"
2005 Helmar Brewing
???? Farmacia Y Drogueria "The Aces of the Screen" (Guatemala)
Exhibit Cards/Postcards
There are various postcards and postcard sized cards depicting Dempsey, including many issued by the "Exhibit Supply Company". Apart from those listed below, many others are available from years unknown.

1921 Exhibit
1922 Exhibit
1923 Exhibit (3 cards)
1925 Exhibit (4 cards)
1926 Exhibit (2 cards)
1927 Exhibit
1928 Exhibit (3 cards) (various variations)
???? Exhibit "4-on-1"
1948 Champions
Cards Featuring Tunney fights:
1920s R. Greiling Zigarettenfabrik (Grieling Cigarettes,
           Germany) (v Tunney) - 2 cards
1927 Werner/Mertz Erdal (Germany) (v Tunney) Variation 1
1927 Werner/Mertz Erdal (Germany) (v Tunney) Variation 2
1928 Amatller Chocolate "Boxe" (Spain)
           - 2 cards v Tunney
1927 Greiling Dresden "Serie Boxer-Bild 2" (Germany)
           (v Tunney)
1928 Halpaus (Germany) (v Tunney)
1935 Famous Fights Card (UK) (v Tunney)
1953 Knorr Dempsey (v Tunney)(German Chocolates)
1961 Quaker Oats "Great Moments in Sport" (v Tunney)
1981 United Press International "Sports
           Nostalgia" (Long Count v Tunney)
1991 AW Sports "Boxing" (v Tunney)
19?? Dalpaub "Olympia Series" (Germany) (v Tunney)

If you have any more to add, let me know !

Abe Attell

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