Collection of 14 Allen & Ginter Cigarette Cards With Albumen Photos of 1885-1886 America’s Cup Defenders.
A set of 14 cigarette cards featuring contemporary albumen photographs of Americas Cup defenders from 1885 and 1886. They come in in three formats ranging from 5 ½ x 9 to 4 ¼ x 6 ½ inches. Each format has a similar layout, with the photograph, identified in the negative, mounted atop three lines of text advertising Allen & Ginters Straight Cut (No. 1) Cigarettes. Needless to say, these differ vastly in size from the standard cards, which are usually much smaller. These cards have no printing on the verso, which is also unusual. The dates of the yachts suggests to me that this is an early attempt by Allen & Ginter, which may explain its rarity. Allen & Ginter was a Richmond, Virginia, tobacco manufacturing company formed around 1880. Toward the end of that decade, they began to release cigarette card sets as promotional items for their cigarette brands. Topics varied from birds and wild animals to American Indian chiefs or flags of the world. These were all illustrated with chromolithographs. There were also a few sets of cards illustrated with photographs. Allen & Ginters baseball cards are of particular note, since they were the first of the tobacco-era baseball cards ever produced for distribution on a national level. Photographic card sets featured other topics such as N48 – Girl Baseball Players or N45 – Actors and Actresses. (For a look at some typical eye candy of the 1890s, go to https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:N45_Allen_%26_Ginter_cigarette_cards) Wikipedia lists over 50 topics pictured in sets of their tobacco cards, but Americas Cup is not among them. Ive examined literally thousands of images of Allen & Ginter cigarette cards, and have not found a single card with a photograph of an Americas Cup defender. Similarly, Worldcat lists several Allen & Ginter items, but no Cup defenders. Without a doubt, Allen & Ginter photographic cigarette cards of Americas Cup defenders are among the rarest Cup items Ive encountered.