Sex Sells: Women were popular in 1800s baseball issues

Pre-War Card Magazine

When most collectors think of 1800s baseball, they generally think of some of the game’s biggest stars, like Cap Anson, Tim Keefe, and King Kelly. But while those players are certainly littered throughout 19th Century issues, one of the more unique trends in the 1800s was to actually include women in baseball card sets.

The idea to use women on cigarette cards, of course, isn’t a surprise. Sex sells and that’s true whether you’re trying to move tobacco or cars. But what was kind of fascinating is that women were routinely pictured as actual players even though women’s baseball teams weren’t (at least not in widespread fashion) really a thing back then.

What’s more is that most of the women’s baseball cards weren’t really produced in large numbers. They are often very difficult to find and, as a result, pretty expensive with many of them topping $100 for even low-grade…

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