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H804   Nineteenth Century Baseball Trade Cards
(About This Trade Card Section of Old Cardboard)

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This Baseball Advertising Trade Cards section of the Old Cardboard website has its origins in the seminal booklet "Baseball Advertising Trade Cards," published and distributed by long-time trade card collector Frank Keetz.

The first edition of Keetz' booklet was distributed in 1980. It identified about 180 cards and 24 sets. Subsequent expansions and updates were distributed in 1997 (second edition; 334 cards and 40 sets) and in 2011 (third edition; 400+ cards and 42 sets).

This online edition provides a substantial update and expansion of the third edition of Keetz' book. In addition to being online 24/7 and widely available to all interested viewers, the current version provides descriptions in more detail than ever before. It is also in a format that can be readily updated as new cards are discovered.

Moreover, while Keetz' 3rd edition provides of a representative example card image from each of nearly 50 baseball trade card sets, this online edition includes a comprehensive gallery of virtually every card and all variations in each set and known subset. The result goes far beyond anything that has ever been published about baseball trade cards and includes images of rare cards previously undocumented in the hobby.

The project is the result of years of collaboration between Frank Keetz and Lyman Hardeman along with considerable input from veteran trade card collectors Eldon Mohler, Anson Whaley and others.

When complete (early 2020), this new Trade Card section of the Old Cardboard website will consist of four scroll down pages that correlate with the four main sections of Keetz' book. They are:

  • The eight sets identified in the American Card Catalog (H804-1 through H804-8)
  • All other baseball trade card sets (about 40 sets)
  • Single Cards--Titled (not part of sets)
  • Single Cards--Untitled (no title or caption other than advertizing overprints)
We hope that you enjoy this Trade Card section of the Old Cardboard website and welcome any additions or corrections to it's content.


Classifying baseball card sets is not always a precise exercise, and classifying Baseball Advertising Trade Cards is no exception.

In the American Card Catalog, Jefferson Burdick reserved an important section to "Advertising Cards" and assigned them the prefix "H." Subseries were then described within this section with reference numbers ranging from H1 through H929.

Among these is Series H804, further described by Burdick as "Baseball Comics," which form the core of cards described in this Trade Cards section of Old Cardboard. It is this section alone that was expanded upon by Frank Keetz in his Baseball Advertising Trade Cards book.

General characteristics of the H804 cards are:

  • Cartoonish "Baseball Comics" subjects
  • Contain ads promoting sponsor's products
  • Printed on thin (paper like) card stock
  • Roughly the size of today's postcard (or a little smaller)
  • Distributed mostly over the counter (not as inserts or premiums)

Other sets classified by Burdick as H-Cards share many of the characteristics of the H804 card sets. These other H-Card sets are listed (along with the H804 sets) in the "Other >> H-Cards" section of the Old Cardboard website.

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