The original Goodwin Champions – 1888 N162 set

15 08 2012

OK, my last retro set of the year is going to be Goodwin Champions.  It’s started to pop up on eBay a little bit, and I really like what I’m seeing.  This was one of my favorite sets that I did last year, and I went all out this year – I bought 3 boxes (my most of any product since I was a kid).

Like many other retro sets, I will go through the same process that I did for Heritage & Gypsy Queen.  The first step is going over the original Goodwin Champions set.  This is basically a re-post of the same post from last year, but it will tide the world over until my boxes get here – hopefully tomorrow.

50 total athletes, including 8 baseball players, featured in the set.  Other

  • Set Background: The N162 Goodwin Champions set was issued by the Goodwin & Co. in 1888.  Goodwin had already released much larger sets – Old Judge and Gypsy Queen that primarily featured baseball players.  Goodwin was founded before the Civil War and was one of four tobacco companies that became the American Tobacco Company monopoly in 1890.  This 50-card set featured athletes of many different sports in the numbers below:
    • 8 Baseball Players
    • 6 Billiards Players
    • 5 Pugilists – which is the 19th century term for Boxing
    • 4 Jockeys
    • 4 Bicyclists
    • 4 Lawn Tennis Players
    • 4 Oarsmen
    • 3 Chess Players
    • 3 Pedestrians – which is basically race walking
    • 2 Wrestlers
    • 1 Football Player – Harry W. Beecher, captain of the Yale football team; this is considered the first football card ever
    • 1 Wild West Hunter
    • 1 Runner
    • 1 High Jumper
    • 1 Marksman
    • 1 Broadswordsman
    • 1 Strongest Man in the World
  • Set Design: The cards feature a color lithograph of the designated athlete surrounded by a white border.  The player name (often just the last name) and sport are featured in black in extra space above or below the portrait.  A box at the bottom contains the words “Old Judge & Gypsy Queen Cigarettes” written diagonally.  The card size is the 1-1/2″ x 2-5/8″.  A complete list of all 50 cards is shown on each card back.
  • Packs: Cards were released, 1 card per pack, within either a Gypsy Queen or Old Judge cigarette box sold by Goodwin & Co.
  • Rookies: None of the 8 baseball players were rookies.
  • Hall of Fame: 4 of the 8 baseball players are Hall of Famers, but 16 of the remaining 42 are in the Hall of Fame for his respective sport.
  • Last Active player: Dan Brouthers played in 4 games for the New York Giants in 1904, 8 years after he’d seemingly retired.

Customers could send in coupons from Old Judge or Gypsy Queen cigarette packs to obtain an album (known as the A36 album) that contained pictures of all 50 cards, but without the cigarette ads at the bottom.





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