Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Allen & Ginter Originals - Birds of America

One of the biggest reasons I love Allen & Ginter so much is because of its insert sets.  They tend to be quite out there with oddball, non-baseball subjects.  I don't think I'd be as gung-ho about the set as I am if these inserts didn't exist, and it's why I continue to try and update the ongoing (but very slow) insert series posts.

When I discovered that the brand Allen & Ginter was built off of cigarette cards that featured just that (oddball inserts), I knew I had to go after one of them.  I perused this site for a while which has the most exhaustive list that I can find on the internet and finally decided to go after N4 - Birds of America.

I've always loved birds and almost assuredly got that love from my father who is constantly in our backyard making it look nice and putting up new feeders and houses for the birds.  To this day, his favorite birthday and Christmas presents are always the ones that will improve our little alcove of bird paradise.

I got these from a seller on eBay who had a bunch listed and I got a deal when I bought them all.  They don't run super expensive... probably in the $5-10 a pop range, but for cards that were printed in 1888... 130 years ago, I'm not complaining.

Most of the cards I picked up were in pretty decent shape.  I told the seller that I'd take every card he had that didn't have paper loss on the front.  That fantail pigeon was definitely the worst of the bunch, but I also knew what I was getting with that one as he had a picture of it.

The Goldfinch has always been one of my favorite backyard birds, and this might be one of my favorites that I picked up.

Here are the card backs.  The best and worst I received next to each other.  The paper loss on the back really doesn't bother me, but I appreciate getting at least one decent card back so that I have a checklist going forward!

These two cards really show off the artistic quality and colorful nature of the set.  I was honestly surprised when I received them that these 130 year old colors are still this vibrant.

I sit at 16 of the 50 cards needed to complete this set.  It'll be a process, but I'll be on the lookout for more in the near future!


  1. I've been working on the N20 Prize & Game Chickens since mid-2014. I'm up to 26 out of 50, but it's been about 9 months since I added one to my collection.

    Chris from the Nachos Grande blog is working on the N8 Fish from American Waters set. His page says he's got 44 of 50 from that set.

    These are fun sets to work on, and they really look nice. It is amazing that the colors hold up so well more than a century after they were printed.

  2. I was just about to comment (RAZ beat me to it) that there are a few of us out there trying for different sets. I have been "stuck" at 44 out of 50 for quite some time...I haven't seen a single card that I need for sale in quite some time (and since I'm on a budget, just having one for sale isn't enough for me to be able to pull the trigger). Even so, I agree that the old cards are awesome - I might even have a Birds of America card in my collection, I'll have to check. I often pick up one or two other old Ginter cards if the seller has them along with whatever fish I need for my own set.

  3. Very nice! I love the tobacco era cards. Such a wide variety of subjects to collect. I'm also a fan of birdwatching.

  4. Beautiful cards. I am (very) passively working on some of the old tobacco and cigarette sets that revolve around cars. It's fun to collect in a "different" way than when we collect modern. For me, there's also a different level of excitement when a 100-year old card arrives.

  5. Great ones, love the thought that these are over 100 years old. Have some myself on my site as well but progress in this area is slow. Thanks for sharing !