1897 J. Baines Cricket and Football – Golf Ball Cards

Sample Front
Sample Back

It’s amazing how much information has been discovered about these in the past 25 years since they were initially documented in The Price Guide to Golf Cards Part 2: NON-Tobacco Cards – Philip Smedley/Bruce Berdock in 1995. At that time, there were only 25 different ones known and they were documented as being issued in 1897, which is demonstrably false and off by a couple decades. I’ve spent many hours consolidating all the info I could find on these, discovering I wasn’t the first to notice the incorrect dating, doubling the different known copies, and creating the most complete checklist I’m aware of, though it’s still likely not fully complete.

First, a little info on John Baines, the initial creator of football, soccer to we Americans, cards: https://www.wsc.co.uk/stories/14155-meet-john-baines-the-eccentric-inventor-of-football-cards Starting in 1887 and creating cards for many sports until he retired and sold his business in the early 1920s gives us the range of when these were possibly issued. I was also able to find a sequence of the addresses he operated from, but no year range that each was in use, as follows:

  • Manningham 1887-?
  • Carlisle Road
  • North Parade
  • Oak Lane 1919,1921
  • Nelson Road, Gillingham 1921
  • George Yard, Barnsley 1921-192?

It’s possible, even quite likely, that there was some overlap of the years these addresses were in use as the Oak Lane and Nelson Road addresses were used on a golf ball card with a date of 1921.

I’ve used image archives from Old Sports Auctions, eBay, and Football Soccer Cards in addition to the PSA Pop Report to compile the checklist and info on these. The golf ball cards come in at least three different front colors, though Royal North Devon is the only one I’ve seen thus far available in multiple colors. All of the Sepia and Green have had the Oak Lane address, while the Blue have had the Nelson Road address.

Green – I have not seen a back with a date yet

Sepia 1919 Sample Back Image: http://oldsportsauction.com/files/102694-0.jpg

Sepia 1921 Sample Back Image: http://oldsportsauction.com/files/102411-0.jpg

Blue 1921 Sample Image: https://www.footballsoccercards.com/baines-golf-ball-badly-dated-slab-cambridge-golf-club-1921-but-graded-as-1897-13624-p.asp

The full checklist I’ve been able to compile:

Aberdovey – Good Stroke
Addington – Well Driven
Alwoodley – Well Driven (Sepia 1919 Oak Lane)
Ascot – Well Driven
Bradford – Good Shot
Bradford – Good Stroke
Bradford – Well Driven
Camberley Heath – Good Stroke
Cambridge – Good Shot (Blue 1921 Nelson Road)
Chorlton – Good Shot
Cochrane Castle – Good Stroke
Combe Hill – Good Stroke
Corinthians – Well Played (Typo or wrong set?)
Coventry – Well Driven
Cowal – Good Shot
Foxgrove – Well Driven
Gleneagles – Well Driven
Hanger Hill – Well Driven
Ilkley – Good Stroke
Lancashire – Well Driven
Leven – Good Shot
Lightcliffe – Good Stroke
London County – Well Driven
Middlesex – Good Stroke
Muirfield – Good Shot (Blue 1921 Nelson Road)
Nairn – Well Driven
North Berwick – Good Stroke
North Foreland – Good Stroke
North Middlesex – Good Shot
Northumberland – ? (Sepia Oak Lane)
Northwood – Good Stroke
Notts – Well Driven
Oxford – Well Driven
Queen’s Park – Unknown
Ravensworth – Good Shot
Romford – Good Stroke
Royal and Ancient – Good Stroke (Sepia 1921 Oak Lane)
Royal Eastbourne – Well Driven (Sepia Oak Lane)
Royal Liverpool – Well Driven
Royal North Devon – Good Shot (Blue 1921 Nelson Road)
Royal North Devon – Good Shot (Sepia 1921 Oak Lane)
Sandwich – Good Stroke (Sepia 1921 Oak Lane)
Sheringham – Good Shot
St Andrews – Well Driven (Green Oak Lane)
Sunningdale – Good Stroke (Sepia 1919 Oak Lane)
Swindon – Well Driven
Walmley – Good Shot
Wearside – Well Driven
West Essex – Well Driven

It’s easy to conclude that those with dates on the back of 1919 or 1921 could not possibly have been produced prior to those dates, I think it’s a reasonable assumption that others without dates or that I couldn’t confirm with available images were not produced significantly earlier. I hope to eventually track down additional card images and dates of when Baines used the additional addresses, but what’s life without a little mystery?

PSA Pop Report: https://www.psacard.com/pop/multi-sport-cards/1897/j-baines-cricket-football-golf-ball-shield/78170

Size: 2 3/4″ Diameter

Country of Origin: UK/England

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