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Boxing Cards
Welcome to my card gallery!  Please be sure to visit my web site at www.americasgreatboxingcards.com if you haven't already.  

Navigation: Please use the scroll bar above to view the other pages.  I hope you will find them informative and interesting.  

If you would like more information about my boxing card encyclopedia "America's Great Boxing Cards", please go to www.americasgreatboxingcards.com.  In the years since its 1st publication my book has become the reference on boxing cards.  The descriptions below are short excerpts from the book, which also provides detailed write ups and analysis, hundreds of images, and checklists of sets that had never been studied methodically before. Also below are card galleries of various issues, which I am providing for everyone's easy reference.

I will try to make the gallery as close to chronological as I can.

And in answer to a question I frequently get, no, the cards here are not for sale.  This is a museum page dedicated to public education; I don't even own many of them.  Wish I did.  If you are interested in buying boxing cards please use the menu bar at the top to go to the boxing cards for sale page.

Final Note: I moved the strip cards to the Boxing Strip Card page.

Final Final Note: Please look on the Exhibit card page for Exhibit cards of boxers.

Final Final Final Note: there is a substantial postcard page too.
Date(s): July 2, 2005. Album by Adam Warshaw. 1 - 819 of 819 Total. 10397 Visits.
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Pre-1870 John C. Heenan CDV by Fredricks.  This is the earliest verifiable boxing card.  Until the late 1850's the photographic technology did not permit commercial scale, affordable production of photographs.  Fredricks was one of the first to make albumen images, a skill he learned in France and brought to the States in 1855.  By the time this card was issued as part of his commercially produced "Specialite" series of famous personages, Fredricks owned a large studio and gallery in New York City.  His work is featured in a number of museum collections, including the Smithsonian.

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N167 Jem Carney.  One of four cards issued as part of N167 by Goodwin, it is the first series of boxing cards inserted into packages of cigarettes.

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1887 N28 Allen & Ginter Jimmy Carney. N28 cards are the most common of the 19th Century tobacco boxing cards and among the easiest to collect in high grade (ex or better) because they are printed on thick, high quality cardboard.  The set consists of 50 cards, ten of which depict boxers.  On the card backs is a checklist of the issue.

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The great John L. Sullivan's N28 card.  I feel it is his finest representation on a 19th century lithographic card.

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N29 Jack McGee.  Following the success of the N28 series of fifty cards, Allen & Ginter issued a second series, which Burdick dubbed N29.  We know it is a second series because it says so right on the card backs.  N29 cards are more difficult to find than N28 cards but still readily collected.

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N29 Allen & Ginter Patsey Kerrigan.

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N43 Frank Murphy.  Acting on the old adage that more of a good thing is better, Allen & Ginter re-used the images of the N29 set to create the set that Burdick catalogued as N43.  The set features the fronts of the N29 cards within oversized cards that depict colorful boxing and decorative paraphernalia alongside.  These cards are large, even bigger than modern cards, and were used in 20-packs of cigarettes, as stated on the card reverses.  They are in very high demand.

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This is an album page from the 2nd series of Allen & Ginter champions albums, ACC designation A18.

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N162 Old Judge & Gypsy Queen Charlie Mitchell.  There are five boxers in this colorful and extremely popular multisport lithograph set from Goodwin: Jack Dempsey, John L. Sullivan, Jake Kilrain, Jem Smith and Charlie Mitchell.  All five are IBHOF members.  The card backs contain a checklist.  N162’s are moderately difficult but not rare.

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N162 Old Judge & Gypsy Queen Jack Dempsey.

No, this is not the heavyweight champ.  This is the original Jack Dempsey, a great middleweight champ nicknamed the Nonpariel.  The other fellow is William Harrison Dempsey.  He took the name in tribute to the Nonpariel and it stuck.


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N174 Jack Dempsey.  The second major boxing issue from Goodwin consists of albumen photographs in nine formats; the set is very complex.  Cards with the rectangular bottom logo are sometimes found with a distinctly pink hue.  I have no idea nor, frankly, does anyone else, whether only certain boxers have cards in certain styles, and to state otherwise is to speculate.  I have a comprehensive checklist in my book but new variations do surface.  N174 cards sell for high prices when they are found.

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N174 Gypsy Queen Tug Wilson.  Issued only with two formats, GQs are scarcer than OJs.  The thick-skulled Wilson came to the US from England, stood in with Sullivan for long enough to win a $1,000 challenge purse for lasting, and returned to England to open a grocery business with the money.

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N174 Peter Jackson.  This format of N174 has the pink cards.  Jackson was the best of the 19th century black heavyweight contenders, denied a shot by Sullivan.  He and Corbett fought to a draw.

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N174 George Godfrey.  He is misidentified as "Joe" Godfrey.  The most common format N174.  Godfrey was another black contender.  This and the Peter Jackson are the earliest known cards of black boxers, so they bring a premium from specialists.  Godfrey was elected to the Bare Knuckles Boxing HOF.

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A John Wood cabinet card of Godfrey from the same photo session as the Old Judge card's photo.  Cabinet cards were populaly issued in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  They are called “cabinet” card or “premium” card because their size usually exceeds 4” x 6” and were often displayed in curio cabinets.  Many were issued to promote various organizations and businesses.  Some were even issued by boxers to promote themselves, or sold individually by companies capitalizing on the card collecting craze to sell mass-produced images of celebrities.

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N174 Bob Fitzsimmons.  Sorry for the lousy scan but this card is rare and was issued in Australia.

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N174 large screen Gypsy Queen.  There are 7 known cards with the large GQ legend with only 1 example of each fighter known.

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N174 large screen Gypsy Queen Willie Clark.

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Old Judge card with rare back advertising, likely an Australian or UK issue.

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A very rare Aussie OJ card

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1887 W.S. Kimball Champions of Games and Sports (N184)Patsy Cardiff.  Not to be outdone by its competitors at Allen & Ginter and Goodwin, W. S. Kimball & Co. issued its own set of champions cards.  There are five boxers.  The card fronts are found with or without the company name wrapped around the portrait of the subject.

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N184 John L. Sullivan, with logo around the head.  These are the rarest of the regular tobacco sized multisport champions lithographed issues and owing to thin borders and weak cardboard are very hard to find in nice shape.

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N150 John L. Sullivan.  One of four poses found in the issue.

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N157 The Sunny South.  Boxer is likely Paddy Duffy, an IBHOF member.

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N692 a smaller, tougher version of N157 w/ different branding

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1889 Kinney Hold To The Light Metamorphic (N223)John L. Sullivan.  This is a unique, extremely rare issue.  The cards’ images change when held to sunlight.  The Sullivan, gets long hair and a beard when he changes.  It is a layered set of images on thin stock and is vulnerable to damage.

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1889 S.F. Hess & Co. (N332) Jack Havlin.  S.F. Hess, a Rochester, NY company, issued a very rare series consisting of an unknown number of blank-backed photographic cards of boxers and other celebrities in a format very similar to N174.  The issue is so rare that it is meaningless to speak of the 80+ known cards as a set.

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N332 S.F. Hess Charlie Mitchell.  It was not uncommon for parents to lop off the tobacco ads on cards and give the images to their kids.  When the card is rare it can make identification a challenge.  This one was sold as an unidentified photo of an anonymous boxer and sold for less than 1% of what a Hess would normally cost.

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1887 Lorillard’s Mechanics Delight (N269) Jimmy Elliot.  Lorillard issued this sought after set of fifty numbered boxing cards in 1887.  Personally, my favorite 19th century set; I appreciate the broad scope of subjects, the numbering, and the write ups on the backs of the cards.

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N269 Lorillard Mechanics Delight Tommy Warren.  An early lightweight champion.

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N269 Lorillard Mechanics Delight John L. Sullivan.  One of two Sullivans in the set, both carrying the same card number.

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N269 Lorillard Mechanics Delight Bill Poole.  A gangster and nativist political enforcer immortalized in Herbert Asbury's "The Gangs of New York" who was drawn on to create the "Butcher Bill" character in the movie.  Murdered by Irish gangsters affiliated with John Morrissey (our next card subject), his last words were "I die a true American."  His funeral procession drew thousands of onlookers.

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John "Old Smoke" Morrissey.  The Tammany politico and gangster was one of the toughest bare knuckles brawlers of pre-Civil War NYC and founded the Saratoga Springs track.  Served in Congress and died a very wealthy man.  His crew murdered Bill Poole, though not on his orders.  He and Poole had a bitter blood feud based on Poole's nativist sentiments.

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1889 History of Poor Boys and Other Famous People (N79) Jake Kilrain: Although not really cards, the two booklets in this series that depict boxers are popularly collected by 19th century boxing card collectors.  The booklets were produced by Duke and show various Duke products in addition to detailed biographies of the celebrity subjects.  The elaborate cover art is what makes these items popular among collectors.  The two boxer subjects are John L. Sullivan and Jake Kilrain.  The set is popularly treated as an 1888 issue, but that is clearly wrong; the last paragraph of the Kilrain biography states that he and Sullivan had signed in January 1889 for a July 1889 championship bout.

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1893 Lorillard Red Cross Long Cut Tobacco (N266)Choyinski[sic] and Goddard.  The set designated N266 by Burdick consists of 25 known unnumbered cards.  It is one of the easiest sets to date; 1893 is printed right on the fronts of the cards in very small, faint print below the “Red Cross” name.  Each oversized “tall boy” card depicts a match between two fighters and illustrates a specific move.  Some of the illustrations show blows permitted under the rules of the London Prize Ring (“L.P.R.”), but not under the modern rules for gloved prize fights.  Card backs contain a short blurb about the fighters and fight depicted, and a huge Red Cross advertisement.  These colorful cards are larger than average tobacco cards but smaller than postcards, trade cards or cabinet cards, which accounts for both their desirability and their difficulty in better conditions.

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N266 Fitzsimmons v. Dempsey.  One of the two keys to the set showing Jack Dempsey and Bob Fitzsimmons, who fought for the middleweight crown.  Fitz held two titles at once (middle and heavy) at a time when there were only three weight divisions.

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N266 Murphy v. Weir

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N266 McAuliffe v. Myers

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N266 Hall v. Pritchard

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N266 Frazier and Daly

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N266 De Baum and Campbell

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N266 Dawson and Needham

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N266 Chambers and Clark

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Offered for sale the few times they've come up as some prototype, they are much more likely cuts from some sort of as yet undiscovered poster for the Red Cross set.

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1895 Mayo Cut Plug (N310)Joe Chonskia [sic].  Mayo produced a series of 35 subjects with photographic depictions of many of the biggest stars of the day.  The set features two front styles: names at the top and names at the bottom of the image.  

The fighter whose name was routinely mangled by the card companies, San Francisco native Joseph Bartlett Choynski [ko-yin-ski] was the first great Jewish-American fighter.  Although he weighed about 170 he was a heavyweight who fought most every contender and champion, and defeated Jack Johnson early in Johnson's career.


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Mayo Jim Corbett, name at bottom variation.

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Mayo Jim Hall.  There are extreme print variations found in the name at bottom Mayo issue.  They are detailed in my book.  Ones like this, missing the artistic enhancements, are the rarest.

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N310 Joe Walcott

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Old Chocolate Godfrey, name at bottom variety.

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2012 HOFer [finally] Jake Kilrain, name at bottom variation

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Uncut partial strip of N310.

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Another uncut N310 strip

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All three of the N310 uncut strips shown here originally fit together as one strip but were separated over time.  I know of only one other uncut N310 strip.

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This is a carte de viste (CDV) of Jem Carney.  About the size of a modern photograph it was produced in the 1890s.

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N537 Little Rhody Jim Corbett

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1890s Jim Corbett CDV.

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N386 Spaulding & Merrick John L. Sullivan

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Richard K. Fox, publisher of the Police Gazette, was a well known photographer and prize fight promoter.  He was responsible for a large issue of cabinet cards under his own studio name as well as a set issued under the Police Gazette name.  He also made up several CDVs of himself, like this one.

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Richard K. Fox cabinet of Bob Fitzsimmons.

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Richard K. Fox cabinet Tom Hyer.  Hyer was one of the first American heavyweight champs, winning acclaim in a 101 round (yes, that is correct) bare knuckles title fight in the 1840s.  He successfully defended against Yankee Sullivan in the 1851 and then retired to run his bar and gang in New York City.

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Another Fox cabinet of Bob Fitzsimmons, this one on a rare white mount.

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This cabinet of HOFer Charlie Mitchell was issued as part of a set of boxers by The Champion and is designated in the ACC as M125.

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M125 cabinet of Australian boxer Frank Slavin.

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Police Gazette John L. Sullivan.  Richard Fox issued a multitude of cabinet cards under his studio and also issued a series for his newspaper The Police Gazette.  The latter have the ACC designation M128.

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M128 Jake Kilrain

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John Wood Studio cabinet card of Jack [Nonpariel] Dempsey.  An image from the same sitting was used to make his S.F. Hess card.

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Stevengraph silks of Kilrain and Smith.  An English issue of four cabinet-cards that frame very finely woven silk fighter portraits about the size of a bank check.

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1895 Newsboy Cabinets (N566)Peter Jackson.  The National Tobacco Works issued a gigantic set of several hundred cabinet (4 1/4” x 6 1/2”) cards in the early 1890’s, popularly listed as an 1895 issue.  I know of 4 boxing subjects, John L. Sullivan, Jim Corbett, Peter Jackson and Bob Fitzsimmons, depicted on at least 14 different cards.

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N566 Newsboy Bob Fitzsimmons with Campbell mount and Boston Herald advertisement back

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N566 Corbett.  One of the full body poses.  Campbell mount.

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John L. Sullivan cabinet card.  One of many types of souvenir cards of the first true fistic superstar, this particular format is found with at least three different poses.

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John L. Sullivan trade card.  This cabinet sized card is usually found imprinted on front or back with a local merchant's advertisement, a common use for trade cards in the late 19th century.

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1890s X-Zalia Jim Corbett.  A snake oil of the worst sort, Corbett plugged it for a fee.

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What we have here is somewhat of a mystery but is generally accepted as being some kind of composite sample card associated with the N150 series.

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1901 Ogdens.  A giant issue of several series of subjects, with a nice selection of boxers.  British.

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This is from the "A" series

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The BAT issued different versions of the cards overseas.  This was Danish.

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Tough Aussie version of the Ogden's issue.

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1904 Battling Nelson.  Styled like a cabinet card but printed.  Includes his record to 1904 on the back.

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Jack O'Brien's card

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Jimmy Britt.  Also seen: Jim Jeffries, John L. Sullivan

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Jim Jeffries, the California Grizzly, in his prime in 1899.

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1904 Jeffries-Munroe cabinet card by Sporting Life magazine.  Unlike 'true' cabinet cards, this one is printed rather than photographic, and double-sided.  Only one specimen is known.

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ca.1909 James J. Jeffries self-issued cabinet card w/Sarony image.  Sarony was a well-known photographer of athletes.  Jeffries made several cabinets in conjunction with his 1910 comeback.

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T218 Sam Langford.  Perhaps the most widely collected T-type boxing cards are the T218 cards of Champion Athletes and Prizefighters, issued with various American Tobacco Company products.  The T218 cards are beautiful examples of turn of the century lithography.  The cards measure approximately 2 ½ x 2 7/8 inches, and typically contain a short write-up and fight statistics on the backs.

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T218 Jack Johnson, side view.  In my opinion the T218 set is the nicest looking of the 20th century lithographic sets.

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T218 Stanley Ketchell

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T218 Sam Langford Tolstoi back.  Mecca is the most common brand of T218.  Hassan is slightly more difficult to find than Mecca, say on a 55:45 ratio.  The Tolstoi back is rare.

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T218 Willie Lewis.

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T219 Willie Lewis.  The T219 set is a cut down version of T218 with only 50 boxers.  Compare this card with the T218 Lewis image for the cropping. The basic cards in the set are the Honest Long Cut (“HLC”) brand cards.  The Miners Extra brand is uncommon.  The Red Cross brand is rarely seen.

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T220 Charlie Goldman.  Issued with Mecca and Tolstoi cigarettes, the 50-card set designated as T220 by Jefferson Burdick in the American Card Catalog is one of the two “basic” boxing card sets from pre-World War I era of the 20th Century.

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T220 Silver Borders Charlie Goldman.  A significant border variation exists in the T220 set.  All cards are commonly found with a white border.  For some reason, 26 Mecca brand cards were printed as well with a silver border.

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T220 Mecca Silver Borders Joe Coburn.  Note the man at the left.

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T220 Coburn white border.  The man’s image clearly was removed after the silver bordered printing, since the plant leaves that replaced him still form his silhouette.  Why the American Tobacco Company bothered to remove this man from the picture is unknown.  It proves that the silver cards were printed first.  I have never seen a white bordered Coburn with the man at the left intact.

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T220 Silver Borders Kid Lavigne.

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T220 Silver Borders Mike Donovan.  This card blew my mind when discovered early in 2006.  Until then all catalogs carried the silver bordered variation of T220 as a 25-card subset of the 50-card issue including Jack Goodman, which does not exist.  This card was the 26th silver border discovered and is one of 2 known specimens.  The silver set consists of 25 cards.

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T220 Silver Borders Young Erne

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T220 Silver Borders Willie Beecher

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T220 Freddie Welsh Tolstoi back

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1910 Dixie Queen T223 John L. Sullivan.  The same 50 cards in T220 were issued in a smaller format on coarser paper as Dixie Queen premiums.  They are quite rare.

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T224/T229 Pet/Kopec Cigarettes Monte Attell.  Abe's brother Monte was a title holder.  Pet and Kopec were West Coast brands with very limited distribution.  Pet brand cards are rare; Kopecs are all but impossible to find.

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T225 Jas. J. Jeffries.  This series has 10 back variations.  The gory details are in my book.

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T226 Red Sun Puglistic [sic] Subjects Willie Lewis.  This set of 50 cards is very tough to find and very desirable; a high grade set of 50 brought $57,605.23 at auction some years ago.

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T227 Abe Attell.  A multisport set of 24 known (1 missing) cards with 5 boxers issued in a large format similar to modern cards with images not seen on any other T cards, the T227 Honest Long Cut or Miners Extra brand set is very desirable, especially because of its four baseball players.  Abe Attell was a Jewish-American champion who was the go-between in the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

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T227 Ad Wolgast

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T227 Johnny Coulon.  Every boxer in T227 was a champion and is in the IBHOF.  The others not shown here are Frankie Klaus and Jack Johnson.

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T227 Jack Johnson. Honest Long Cut back.

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T227 Jack Johnson. Mechanics Extra back.

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T227 Frank Klaus.  I really like this image.

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These T227 items were cut from an as-yet undiscovered advertising piece or album.  Likely an ad piece.

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T9 Turkey Red cabinet cards are among the most beautiful cards of the T era. Commonly found with the redemption address at the bottom and on occasion with no address.

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There is an advertising back known only with the baseball cards.

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1909 Jeffries Championship Souvenir Playing Cards Bob Fitzsimmons.  The W.P. Jeffries Co. created a really nice set of playing cards depicting boxers and boxing matches from the past.  The card back shows Jeffries, fat and happy in a bowler hat.

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This card was enclosed in the deck of Jeffries cards and is tougher to find; I suppose it was routinely discarded.

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Jeff made himself the Joker.

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Sullivan was the King; Johnson was the actual champion at the time.  He does not merit an individual card, undoubtedly due to his race.

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Another card from the set showing Jeffries about to fight Fitzsimmons for the title.  The reference to bearhood is a play on one of his nicknames, the California Grizzly.

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E75 has 20 line-drawn cards issued by the American Caramel Co.  The cards are checklisted on the back.  It is one of the most common caramel sets.

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E75 McCoy

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A little tougher than E75 are the American Caramel Co.'s E76 issue, also of 20 cards with checklist backs.  They can be distinguished based on typeface and fonts.

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E76 Nelson

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E77 Al Kaufman.  Issued by the American Caramel Company, the same maker of the E75 and E76 sets, this particular set has 24 cards including two wrestlers and is very tough to find.

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E78 Frank Klaus.  Cards from this set are rare.  The card fronts are similar in format to the E79/80 cards, while the card backs are very similar to the E75/76 cards.  There is no branding or manufacturers designation on E78 cards.  A checklist of the 25 cards in the issue is provided on the card backs.

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E79 Marvin Hart.  E79 is one of the most widely collected boxing caramel card sets.  E79 card back contain a partial checklist and reference 27 "Scrappers", giving the set its nickname.  Card backs are printed in black; very rarely will be seen in red.

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E79 red back.  Some call these E80 but Burdick treated them as E79.  Really, the issue is academic since they should be collected together as a two or three series single issue.

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E79 Jack O'Brien and Partner

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E80 Attells.  E80 is one of the more difficult 20th century boxing sets.  E80 references 44 Scrappers on the card backs, which have a complete checklist of the set.  There is overlap between E79 and E80; very likely the 79 red backs were some of the cards listed on the E80 backs.

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Typical E80 back on a card not issued with E79

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Normally, this card has a lot going for it--Jack Johnson from a very difficult pre-war E set (E80).  What makes this special is the stamping on the card back.  I've seen this before--in a museum, when I went to research my book at the Met's Burdick Collection.  The stylized "B" and the "Jeff B." indicate that this card was once the possession of none other than the creator of the American Card Catalog, Jefferson Burdick.

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ca. 1910 Jim Jeffries uncatalogued card.  A candy issue from around the time of the Johnson fight, these cards are quite difficult to find.

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ca. 1910 New England Gum Co. Jeffries and Johnson flip card. Another Jack v. Jeff card.

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Flip side

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Although this strip card set uses the E79 and E95 art it is really a card cut from an advertising sheet for Philadelphia Caramel Company, which made the sets

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Heavyweight champ Tommy Burns was also a top lacrosse player.  Here is his C60 card.

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1915 Susini Jack Johnson [Cuba]

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1915 Susini Billy Wells [Cuba]

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1915 Cope's Cigarettes (UK)

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1919 photo card of the Dempsey-Willard fight from a series of cards issued as both PCs and PC-sized blank-backed cards.

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1919 Underwood & Underwood Jack Dempsey: Underwood & Underwood was known for licensing photos.  Many baseball sets from the 1920’s have the U&U copyright on their images.  Apparently, U&U also tried its hand at producing postcard-sized cards of its own.  Dempsey and Willard are the known subjects, indicating an issue date ca. 1919.

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An oddball card, probably a souvenir from 1921 as there is a postcard with the same image and graphics that is dated from the Carpentier bout.

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1924 Benny Leonard standup card from the Flying Fists serial.  Two known examples, one with the stand part torn off.

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1926 Weber Bakery Gene Tunney.  From a movie stars set.  Tunney is shown from his role in The Fighting Marine.

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1927 York Caramel (E211) King Tut (obviously not his real name).  This rare set of cards depicts fighters of the era.  Burdick catalogued it as E211.

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1927 York Caramel (E211) Frankie Genaro.  The Burdick Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has only 2 E211 cards.

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E211 York Caramel Andy Divodi.

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1931 Cigarrera Bigott (Venezuela).  Uses the York Caramel images.

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Jack Johnson.  A Cuban tobacco issue of approximately 200 cards of fighters.

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Joe Welling

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Jeff Smith

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Chrley Weinert

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Young Wallace

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Joe Dillon

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Juan Casala

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Johnny Shugrus

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Jimmy Kane

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Romeo y. Julieta #85 Jimmy Wilde

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Romeo y Julieta Willie Beecher

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Romeo y Julieta Benny Leonard

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A second version of the Leonard card, discovered in 2016.

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Jewish boxers were well represented in the RyJ set.  Besides Leonard and Beecher, we have Matt Wells, Abe Goldstein, and Lew Tendler

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This and the next image are more Romeo y Julietas showing the variety of designs and image quality in the issue.

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1920s Romeo y Julieta white variation

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1920s Romeo y Julieta white background with ring variety.

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1920s Romeo y Julieta Sullivan v. Kilrain

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1920s Romeo y Julieta La Ciencia Del Boxeo.  Another tobacco issue, this one showing 'how-to' boxing poses.

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1930 Chocolatin Mercedes Papke and Lewis.  A very rare issue from Uruguay.

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This and the next photo show the Mercedes boxing series as it lays out on the album pages.

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Jeannette and MacVea from the Mercedes set.  These are counterfeits; South American sellers will often make photocopies or laser prints of partial sets and glue them into the album to give the impression of a complete set.

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Papke and Lewis as they looked glued down.

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E. Quintana issued a large series of boxing and baseball cards in 1931.  The baseball cards include Martin Dihigo cards that sell for thousands.  The boxers include Sixto Escobar and Pedro Montanez.

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1931 Quintana back.  There are a couple of varieties of backs depending on series of issue.

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One of the Montanez fight cards, actually shows his opponent.

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Two more Montanez cards

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A Sixto Excobar card

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One of the people shown is Pincho Gutierrez, who trained Kid Chocolate.

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1930s premium from a Cuban haberdashery w/HOFer Kid Chocolate.

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1920s caramel wrapper from Argentina

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1920s caramel wrapper from Argentina

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1920s caramel wrapper from Argentina

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This is a mail response card used by Pathe to respond to fans who wrote to Jack Dempsey care of the studio.

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This is the header card for a series of German transfer stamps depicting the 1927 Dempsey-Tunney fight.

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16 of the 20 stamps

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ca. 1929 or 1930 E282 Goudey Oh Boy Gum Jack Dempsey and Tom Mix.  From a series of 32 movie-related cards.  One of the first Goudey cards.

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A 1920s Hollywood still of Dempsey used to make the E282 Oh Boy card.

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1920s French PC made from the same movie studio publicity still.  From a global perspective, Dempsey was the most popular athlete in the world in the 1920s, proven by the many PCs of him from around the world.

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Three version of Greiling cards of Benny Leonard. Circa 1925-26.  BTW, this one was stolen out of the mail en route to me, so if a postman tries to sell it to you, kick him hard in the testicles and contact me.

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1933 Goudey Sport Kings Max Baer.  Goudey’s sole multisport issue depicts four fighters: Baer, Dempsey, Tunney and Carnera.

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Premium of Dempsey, Baer and Carnera from the Goudey Sport Kings issue.  Scene from the MGM film The Prizefighter and the Lady.

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ACC# R308 Tattoo Orbit Primo Carnera.  Image from the MGM film The Prizefighter and the Lady

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R308 Dempsey.  Image from the MGM film The Prizefighter and the Lady

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1930s Ray-O-Print Jack Dempsey

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Loose-Wiles, the maker of Rippled Wheat cereal, issued a number of different items relating to Jack Dempsey in 1936 when he signed on as a national spokesman.

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ca. 1936 H-Unc. La Salle Hats cards.  A set of 8 cards given in an envelope as a promotional device for haberdasheries.

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This would be 7 of the 8 cards in the set plus an original envelope.

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La Salle Hats Kid Lavigne

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1936 Indiana Sport Young Perez.

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1936 Indiana Sport Humery-Berg, blue variation

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1937 Kelloggs Pep Cereal Tommy Loughran

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1937 Kelloggs Pep Cereal Jess Willard

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1937 Kelloggs Pep Cereal Jack Sharkey

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1937 Kelloggs Pep Cereal Jack Delaney

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1937 Kelloggs Pep Cereal James Corbett

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1930s Rogers & Peet Gene Tunney.

Issued by a haberdashery (clothing store) ca. 1930 in packs of 4, these blank-backed cards are quite difficult to find.  Four boxers are featured: Tunney, Schmeling, Sharkey and Baer


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In 1936-37 several newspapers, likely from a chain, issued stamps in pairs in their papers. They included boxers. They've gotten some respect lately as people realize that there are early cards of Joe DiMaggio and other stars in them.

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There are two or more of the biggest names available. Sometimes found without the biography. Collected either way.

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1942 Chicago Tribune Joe Louis, from a set of 70 WWII related strip cards issued in the newspaper with corresponding album.

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Uncatalogued 1940s arcade card of Georges Carpentier.  These cards were issued in Coney Island and sold only at that location.  They are quite rare.  I have seen a few of them offered over the years.  The image was stolen from the Blue Boxers exhibit set.

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1925 Blue Boxer Carpentier.

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Coney Island Louis and Johnson.  The pictures in the set were sourced from a variety of other issues and publicity photos.

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An uncut sheet of the Coney Island cards.

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1948 Kellogg’s Pep Tony Zale is the sole boxer in this small, thin black and white cereal insert set.

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reversed image of Zale from the Pep issue.  There are also cropping variations.

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1948 Leaf Jack Dempsey.  The 1948 Leaf boxing set is one of the two post-World War II boxing sets issued by a major gum manufacturer (the other is the 1951 Topps Ringside set) before 1990.  It consists of 49 different cards, plus an unissued extremely rare Rocky Graziano (with fewer than ten known examples, most collectors do not even consider the Graziano to be part of the set).

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1948 Leaf Joe Louis.  Printing quality is the biggest condition concern with 1948 Leaf cards.  The card stock itself is fairly thick and holds up well, but the printing can vary from atrocious to breathtakingly nice.  Front image registration is the single worst problem with the set.  The set was printed in three passes -- black, red and blue – and relatively few of the cards actually align perfectly for all three phases.  When the printing lines up exactly, the result is a crisp, sharp image and a very nice card indeed, but if any phase misses the mark by even a millimeter, the entire image is thrown off.  Many collectors of this issue will sacrifice corner sharpness or centering to get a properly printed card.  The card fronts also suffer from inking irregularities.

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This four-card strip may be a salesman sample.

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1951 Berk Ross Hit Parade of Champions (W532)Sugar Ray Robinson.  This ugly multisport set was issued in boxed sets for sale directly to children in 1951, in four series.  The cards came in two-card panels with a perforation between them.

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1951 Ringside Abe Attell.  This set was Topps’ sole full-fledged venture into the boxing market.  The 1951 Ringside set was issued in two 48-card series.  The second series is roughly twice as hard to find as the first series.

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1951 Ringside Tiger Flowers.  This card is very popular and sells for a considerable premium.

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1951 Ringside Barney Ross.  Card fronts show a color image of the boxer (a painted photo called a “Flexichrome” was used) with the name and division in a box.  The illustration quality varies with the quality of the source materials.  Champions of the past have gold laurels surrounding a plate with the title and dates of title above the name.  The present-day champions have a crown on the card.

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1951 Ringside Gene Tunney. Card #95, Tunney is very tough to find.  Although not short prints, two other cards are notorious problem cards:  Joe Louis (#88) frequently has terrible centering left to right, and John L. Sullivan (#69) is often off-centered towards the bottom.

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The Ringside box.

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A two-card panel, sold in nickel packs.

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An 8-card salesman sample.  This one shows Marciano's rookie card.

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The back of the sample panel.

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Kid Herman newsstand issue (1946-1970s): Issued in New York City by boxer Kid Herman, whose image appears on the back of the envelope in which they came.  The set was sold originally in a packet for $0.25 at the Kid's newsstands and also peddled at Stillman's Gym, and was updated updated on different papers through the early 1970s.  See my blog for more details.

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Kid Herman Tommy Burns, original format printing

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Over the next 20 years or so after the initial issue of the set, Herman reprinted the set and issued new cards for the new champs, in ever worsening quality.  Interim reprints shifted from thin chipboard to heavier polished stock similar to Exhibit cards.  The last printings were on a slick paper and weren't even sized consistently.

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Kid Herman Jack Dempsey.  Printed on thicker cardboard like an exhibit card, often mistaken for them.  The earlier printings of Dempsey feature a different pose.

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Kid Herman Schmeling

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Kid Herman card of Jack Sharkey.  The earlier printings of Sharkey feature a different pose.

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Joe Louis made after his retirement as the date "1946-" has been removed from the card.

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Kid Herman card of Ezzard Charles from a later printing.  Trimmed down, probably a sample.

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Kid Herman Walcott, also a trimmed down sample

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Here is a Marciano card from a later printing.

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Patterson Kid Herman card, later printing

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Here is the Sonny Liston from a later printing of the Kid Herman set.

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The most elusive and valuable of the Kid Herman cards, printed post-Ali's 1967 loss of his belt and freedom for refusing induction into the army.  Same pose as the 1960s Exhibit card.

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1950s Joe Palooka Benny Leonard.  The back panel of a candy box.

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Joe Palooka box.

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1947 Homogenized Bond Bread Marcel Cerdan.  A short print, with La Motta.

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The Homogenized Bond Bread card art was sourced from a variety of publicity photos of the era.  Here is the Cerdan.  The "deceased" notation is something that its former owner added to the piece.

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This Cerdan is about 7 x 10 and comes from a multisport picture pack.  It is often misidentified as a Homogenized Bond premium; really it is just the same art used for another product.

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A Graziano from the picture pack.  Not known as a Homogenized Bond Bread card.

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A Primo Carnera from the picture pack; same image as on the Homogenized Bond card.

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1950 Bowman Wild Man Sullivan v. Kilrain

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1951 Berk Ross Sugar Ray Robinson.  One of six boxers in this two-card per panel multisport set, issued in boxed form.

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1930s Adam Hats premium, type 1.  ACC designation H815.

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1930s Adam Hats premium, type 2

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Another mens clothing issue, this one by Slidewell Bows, a tie-maker.

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Now this is an interesting example of how a piece made for one purpose was reused.  Bob Murphy's Slidewell Bows advertising piece had a new piece of copy stripped onto it to make this fight poster, which was then blown up and printed.  Note the National studio logo at the bottom right that is not in the Slidewell ad piece.

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Slim Jim was a brand of Slidewell Bows and several boxers were used to promote it.

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1951 Bread For Energy Billy Graham.  I really like the proto-Pop Art designs of these labels.

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1951 Bread For Energy Kid Gavilan

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier Laurent Dauthille.  The issuer was a French brewery that sponsored a sweepstakes for a trip to its brewery in what was then French colonial Africa.

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier  Robert Cohen.  Cohen was a world champion.  I am absolutely certain on the ID of Dauthille and this one but the IDs of the fights in the ensuing images are tentative.

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier Laurent Dauthille and Charles Humez

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier Dauthille v. Young.

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier Gavilan v. Humez

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier Villemain v. Nardico

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1954 Brasserie Motte Cordonnier unknown--anyone got any ideas?

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1955 Topps Hocus Focus Rocky Marciano small variety.  One of the rarest Marciano cards.

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1955 Topps Hocus Focus Archie Moore.

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1962 Topps Great Americans John L. Sullivan.

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1962 Topps Great Americans Jim Corbett

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This is a 1927 or slightly later set of transfers issued by a German company commemorating the Dempsey-Tunney "Long Count" title fight.

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Matchcover from Primo Carnera's liquor store in Glendale, California.

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Tony Canzoneri died in 1959, so his autographs are not easy.  This is the only signed exhibit of his I've ever seen.

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Beau Jack signed exhibit card.  Jack was "discovered" shining shoes in Miami hotels as an older man and became a fixture on the autograph circuit after that.

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1940s snapshot of Jim Jeffries Barn in Burbank, California, site of many local bouts.

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1950 Safe-T Manuel Ortiz.  A Washington DC area regional issue, and very rare.

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Barney Ross signed contract for 1951 Topps Ringside cards.  Ross, a true American hero, was a 3-division champ and won the Silver Star for battlefield heroics on Guadalcanal.

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OK, it isn't even remotely a card.  It is, however, a cool boxing collectible.  This slug is a trade stimulator for Jim Jeffries' pool hall and bar in Los Angeles.

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OK, it isn't a boxing card, but come on, I'm only human.  Julie Newmar...

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1930s Lucky Heart Co. Joe Louis premium.

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Advertisement for Lucky Heart Co. offering the Louis premium, from The Chicago Defender newspaper on June 5, 1937.  Thanks to collector Arthur Rich for his research in finding this ad.

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1935 Brown & Bigelow Joe Louis premium

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A variation with a caption.  Also 1935.

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Brown & Bigelow also made fans using the Louis artwork, and sold them to various businesses for use as promotional products.

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An Israeli "Cassius Clay issue from the late 1960s.  Blank backed and on thin paper.

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1965 Golazo by Crack [Argentina].  HOFer Locche shown here.

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1965 Golazo Perez [IBHOF]

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1967 Crack Campeones Cassius Clay.

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1967 Crack Campeones

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1972 Ases Del Ring [Mexico] Saldivar, Napoles, Ramos and Olivares

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1975 Malaysian issue Ali

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1975 Malaysian issue Ali

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1975 Malaysian issue Ali

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1975 Malaysian issue scene from Ali-Foreman

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1975 Malaysian issue Foreman

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1975 Malaysian issue Ken Norton

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1938 NX5 #11 Kid McCoy.  An ultra rare set issued in the Phillipines just before the Japanese invasion.  Supposed to be 250 cards; 40 are known.

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1938 NX5 Joe Louis

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1938 NX5 Benny Leonard

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1938 NX5 Al Brown

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1938 NX5 Johnny Kilbane

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1938 NX5 Tony Canzoneri

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1938 NX5 Joe Gans

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1935 Pattreiouex Joe Louis

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1938 Churchman's Joe Louis

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1965 Swedish Candy Clay

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1966 DC Thompson Hornet Clay

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1930s Chilena de Tabacos Tunney

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1922 Comic Life Sports Champions Dempsey

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1925 Bunsen Confectionary Famous Figures Criqui

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1959 or 1960 German card of a September 1959 match between Bubi Scholz and Johnny Halafihi

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1962 German card of Harold Johnson issued as he arrived in Germany to fight a title match with Bubi Scholz.

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1952 Cicogna

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1954 Rover

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1957 Cardmaster

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1958 SADA Firenze

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1959 Hokus Fokus (Germany) Sugar Ray Robinson

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1964 Chocolat Simon (Spain) Griffith-Paret.

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Can't say exactly when issued but definitely pre-1959 since that was the year he died and the signature is good.

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1973 Panini Roberto Duran RC.

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1981 Gong Salvador Sanchez RC.  A Japanese issue, from a full page insert in the magazine.

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1981 Gong Alexis Arguello RC.  From sticker sheets in the magazine.

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1981 Gong Tommy Hearns RC, predating his Panini by a year.

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1982 Panini Wilfredo Gomez RC

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1986 Panini Italian Mike Tyson RC. The cards were issued in multiple languages.  Italian is tougher than English.

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1986 Panini

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1983-84 Fight Beat Magazine cards. This quartet was issued in the December 1983 mag, which was the premiere edition of the publication.  Mancini, Rosario and King are RCs.

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1983-84 Fight Beat Magazine.  Camacho RC.

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1983-84 Fight Beat Magazine

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1983-84 Fight Beat Magazine

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1984 Fight Beat Hector Camacho RC

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1984 Fight Beat

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1984 Fight Beat

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1984 South African cheese (really) card.

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1987 Panini Julio Cesar Chavez RC

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1990 Browns Riddick Bowe RC

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1990 Browns Hector Camacho

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1991 All World Nigel Benn.  Signed by the Dark Destroyer himself.

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1991 Ringlords Holyfield prototype.  I like this one better than the actual card.

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1991 Ringlords regular issue Tommy Hearns, signed by the Hitman.

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1991 Kayo sample card

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1991 Kayo regular issue Emmanuel Steward.  Got it signed in person at the Lewis-Klitschko presser.  Nice guy; he corrected the typos on the card, front and back.

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1991 Kayo Lennox Lewis RC.

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1992 Classic Oscar De La Hoya.  Check out the cheesy 'stache on the Golden Boy.

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1991 Classic Muhammad Ali, signed version.  One of the early signed insert cards.

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1994 Browns Johnny Tapia RC

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1994 Global Greats Ali.  A regional issue from the UK, this version from an accounting firm. There are also constabulary (police) versions.

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1994 Tetrad Larry Holmes signed insert card

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1996 Merlin Sky Sport Prince Naseem Hamed

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1996 Merlin Sky Sport Nigel Benn

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1996 Merlin Sky Sport Frank Bruno

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1996 Ringside.  Rookie card.

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1996 Ringside promos

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1996 Ringside promos, card backs

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1997 World Boxing Magazine Bernard Hopkins.  Again, part of the 4 card insert, this is also a RC, preceding his Brown's card by a year.

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1999 World Boxing Magazine.  For several years the magazine issued cards in four card insert panels in the magazine.  WBM issued a number of good rookie cards but they really caught lightning in a bottle with the Pacquiao card, widely considered to be his RC.  Top quality examples can reach four figures.

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Better look at Pac-Mans RC

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2001 Ukrainian calendars of the Klitschko brothers.

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2002 BBM (Japan) Muhammad Ali card.  A very tough SP.

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2002 Question of Sport (UK)

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2012 Leaf National Ali

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2012.  Tecate made a true boxing card for Pacquiao-Marquez 4.  Fits right into standard holders, even has stats.  I hope they make this style of card regularly.

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2012 Panini Adrenalyn Anthony Joshua.

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2013 Leaf National Roy Jones Jr.

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2013 Upper Deck Precious Metal Gems Employee Mike Tyson: from a set issued to UD employees, #d to 125.  Also contains Oscar De La Hoya.

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This card and the next are from Vitali Klitschko's Ukraine political campaign.

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2015 Leaf National Mike Tyson.  Made of acetate.  Clear background

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2015 Tecate Mayweather-Pacquiao card.  The fight was a dud but the card Tecate made is a beautiful die cut double sided card about the size of a 1952-56 Topps card.

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2016 BBM Fighting Spirit (Japan)

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2016 BBM Fighting Spirit (Japan)

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2016 BBM Fighting Spirit (Japan)

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2016 BBM Fighting Spirit (Japan)

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2016 Boxing Ringwalk Songs.  A UK issue created as a promotion of a CD compilation of music.  27 cards in all, very limited issue sent to music industry insiders, the first 50 online buyers of the CD and occasionally given away by the record company in contests.

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2016 Leaf Ali SP /25

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2016 Vegas Outlaws Don King.

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