Sunday 30 June 2013

J. Baines - Football Cards (02)


Football Cards
J. Baines

Although I've headed this post as J. Baines, this card was produced by a forerunner of John Baines, a company called J. Briggs. It's the first time I've seen a card die cut in the shape of a footballer (even if this one is a rugby player). Although Baines' name has become synonymous with these cards he was one of the later publishers of football cards in the Victorian era, Baines' first cards were printed by J. Briggs and the back overstamped by Baines in his shop. Of course, he survived much longer in the business than his contemporaries as he was still going, well in the 1920s, though the quality of the cards produced were much poorer then than in the early days.
Coming soon - a new blog, with which I intend to display all the illustrations I currently have in my database - 4,500 and counting. All cards will be shown with the back design used, where known.
UPDATE (06-10-2023 10:55):  My Briggs-Baines timeline is a little off. Please read Carl Wilkes' comment below for a more detailed explanation.


  1. Hi Alan, I noticed this post due to a recent share on a FB page. I have collected Briggs since the early 1990's, with Baines and all the other cards of their type. I believe Briggs was contemporaneous though not necessarily earlier. The earliest Baines cards can be dated to around 1882, those cards being the so-called "Baines Lucky Bag" cards, cards which were often printed in Leeds, some with plain backs overstamped with a Baines device in a fancy-shaped frame or the more usual oval. I have Briggs cards which are overprinted by Baines but this, Bill Duerden, the early-1990's Baines expert, once explained to me was because Baines took over Briggs following legal issues, c.1887. Briggs had been copying Baines' designs, such as the notable Arthur Wharton card, showing Arthur as record-breaking sprinter and Darlington FC player. The Briggs card is a poorer, less detailed obvious copy of the Baines card, with the Baines name eradicated, and Briggs' own brand name substituted for it. In 1887 it was all over, Baines had taken over Briggs' stock and that's why Briggs cards became overprinted with the Baines rubber stamp, a mark Baines had used for some years since its earliest plain-back cards c.1882 - according to Mr Crick. Mr Crick is the great grandson of John Baines Sr. He wrote to me in 2018 and 2019. Thus, I was given the definitive Baines timeline of cards; not just from him. It also came from Bill Duerden's records, a history he had acquired from older collectors long lost to us. These men and their knowledge made me sure Briggs were not earlier but contemporaries of Baines. Of course, when Briggs started is a matter for conjecture but I'd hazard around the same time as Baines, in the early 1880's. Warmest wishes as ever Carl Wilkes

    1. Hi Carl,

      It's always good to hear from and I'm always amazed at how much information you have about so many cards. The story about Briggs and Baines is fascinating. I'll add a link to this post pointing readers to your comment.

      Take care and stay safe, Alan


Please feel free to leave a comment, though it will not appear straight away, as I will need to authorize it.