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The History of Allen & Ginter

I want to introduce Pat R to everyone! He's been breaking with me for awhile and offered to write some short and fun blog entries for the site. He's going to be writing up some entries about all different kinds of topics including cards, baseball in general, and some fun top 5 lists! This is Pat's first entry and he gives us the history of the Allen & Ginter product. I have a few of these original cards that I've included images of below. The A&G card is pretty chewed up but it's from the late 1800's, so it's to be expected. The other two are from the early 1900's and are in much better condition. Enjoy this post and thanks again Pat for helping out!

I have always been intrigued by Allen & Ginter mostly because of the seemingly random people and inserts they offer. After watching one of the most recent breaks that Aaron did, I had to do some more research on the foundation of Allen & Ginter.

Allen & Ginter was a tobacco company founded in 1865 by John Allen and Lewis Ginter. They are credited with starting the passion that we all share, card collecting, with their release of a collectible card series in 1887. It was done to promote their product, and is recognized as the first national release of baseball cards. This series included a numerous amount of illustrations such as birds, fruits, Native Americans, but most importantly baseball players. Mike Kelly, Cap Anson, Charles Cominsky cap off the two set series numbers N28 and N29.

1888 Allen & Ginter Birds of America - Baltimore Oriole

After some success and Lewis Ginter’s departure, John Allen sold the company to join three others to create the American Tobacco Company in 1890 thus ending the Allen & Ginter card line. As many of you know, cigarette companies continued to make these cards, most famously the T206 Honus Wagner card made by the America Tobacco Company in 1909.

1909-1911 Mecca Cigarettes Bird Series Baltimore Oriole

Topps decided in 2006 to revitalize the Allen & Ginter product. Not only did it include the original mix of baseball and celebrities cards, it also included hand painted 1/1 cards of various players among other products.

Throughout the years, Topps has added in hair relics of deceased presidents, cards to plant that grow into flowers, and box toppers which are 5x7 jumbo sized baseball cards. Also included, one of my favorites of the sets, rip cards. These cards, numbered originally /10 or /99, gives you the opportunity to keep the card in its current state, or rip it open to potentially reveal a more rare, smaller card. I saw someone on Reddit r/baseballcards rip open a Sandy Koufax to reveal a 1/1 Roberto Clemente mini that was printed on a piece of wood.

Allen & Ginter cards are a unique card set that started the baseball card revolution on a national scale. By featuring more than just baseball players, along with some wacky inserts, Allen & Ginter is sure to be a staple in anyone’s collection. PR

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