1887-1890 Old Judge N172

1887-1890 Old Judge N172 on Ebay
1887 Old Judge N172 Cap Anson This tobacco card set is the Holy Grail for those who collect 19th century baseball issues - not simply for the cards' rarity and value, but also because the sheer number of variations among the different issues makes compiling a comprehensive 'complete' set practically impossible. And if the collector insists upon all of the cards being a decent grade, he would have to pretty much be a millionaire to get them all.

The set known as Old Judge (Burdick N172) was produced in various releases between 1887 and 1890; cards were distributed in packs of Old Judge and Gypsy Queen cigarettes. The cards measure roughly 1-7/16 x 2-1/2", with much variation between different card due to cutting discrepancies. The cards are unnumbered and blank-backed. Photos are black-and-white. On many cards, the player's name is misspelled, or else his first name omitted.

Different photos exist for many players. (For example, the Cap Anson card exists in versions showing him in his uniform, as well as in his normal street clothes.) Between the photo variations and the differences in spelling and captions, there can be multiple versions of many cards - up 20 for a few examples. Although there are 525 different players in the set, the number of variations increases the comprehensive total to over 3,500!

Even at this late date, some extremely rare variations may still be discovered, to increase that number even further.

Among the most valuable cards in this set are:
Cap Anson
Charlie Comiskey
Ed Delahanty
Bid McPhee
Amos Rusie
Harry Wright