This is one of those very obscure sets that even the most experienced collectors may not have heard about. Koerner & Hayes out of Buffalo, New York printed these up for Spalding back in 1896. The official name of the set is 1896 H818 Spalding Die-Cut Advertising Stand-Ups. It certainly isn’t the largest set in the world. Only (5) cards make up the complete set. I find it interesting as the cards aren’t of any specific athletes. All you’ll find are generic people. Try doing that in today’s hobby.
Like I said before, there are only (5) cards to the set. Each one covers a different sport – baseball, football, cycling, golf, and tennis. Spalding had these made up as a way to help promote their sporting goods. Depending on the card, you’ll find a brief summary of the sport along with a basic outline of how that specific game is played. The write-up on the cycling card however is basically just trying to sell you a bicycle. According to the back of the card, a bike from Spalding would run you about $75.00. That’s a lot of money in 1896.
Baseball Hall of Famer Henry Chadwick did the write-up on the baseball card. The “Father of American Football”, Walter Camp, wrote the summary for the football one. Sets like this really have a niche market. The fact that there are no specific players is a main reason why it doesn’t appeal to many collectors. But don’t let that fool you. This set does have some value. Complete sets have sold for $500.00. That’s about $100.00 per card. You’re obviously going to get more or less based on the condition.
Who wouldn’t want to see today’s football players dress like this? I better not speak too loudly. Panini might pull something like that. We all know how much they like to dress up people for their studio shot photos.