Home / How old are baseball cards?

How old are baseball cards?

How old are baseball cards?

how old are baseball cards

How old are baseball cards?

Baseball cards are much older than many people know.  Baseball cards came into fashion at about the same time as photography.  So naturally, baseball teams began to pose for pictures.  The pictures were sometimes printed out onto small pieces of cardboard not unlike wallet-sized photos.  By the late 1860s, however, trading cards featuring baseball players’ pictures became a regular thing.  The cards were used to promote more than just the sport.  In fact, they were often used to advertise products that had nothing whatsoever to do with baseball.

It would not be until 1868, however, that baseball cards would become “official”.  For it was then that a New York sporting goods store, Peck and Snyder, first produced baseball trading cards.  Since Peck and Snyder actually sold all kinds of baseball equipment these cards are often considered to be the “first” baseball cards.

At the time baseball cards would generally have a picture on the one side and information about the business on the reverse.  As it became easier to do color printing, the cards themselves soon began to include black and white or sepia photographs on the front and color artwork on the back of the card.  In fact, some of the early baseball cards were actually able to be used as part of a simulated baseball game or even a conventional card game.

how old are baseball cards

How old are baseball cards?

As 1886 opened, baseball players’ images were being printed onto cards that came free with cigarettes and other tobacco merchandise.  This practice served a twofold purpose.  It promoted the sports and products and also produced the cigarettes from damage.  Before 1889 would come to a close baseball cards were so popular that the cards were being produced and distributed not only in the American continents but into the Pacific Isles as well.

(Images courtesy of VintageCardPrices and RobertEdwardAuction)

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.

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