Allen & Ginter

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Engraving of the Allen & Ginter mascot and warehouses in Richmond, Virginia (from an 1886 promotional book)

Allen and Ginter was the Richmond, Virginia, tobacco manufacturing firm formed by John Allen and Lewis Ginter in 1865.

The firm created and marketed the first cigarette cards for collecting and trading. Some of the cards in the series include Charles Comiskey, Cap Anson, Jack Glasscock, and Buffalo Bill. Since 2006, a revived version of the trading card brand has been issued by Topps.

History[edit]

The firm of Allen & Ginter was founded in 1865.[1] In 1882 Allen retired, leaving Ginter, who retained the firm name despite taking on one John Pope as new partner.[1] The first tobacco company to employ female labor, by 1886 they had 1,100 employees, predominantly girls, who rolled the cigarettes.[1]

The company offered a prize for the invention of a machine able to roll cigarettes (which until then had been hand-rolled). James Albert Bonsack won this prize with his 1880/81 invention. Because it was not completely reliable, all but one of the large tobacco manufacturers declined to buy the machine. James Buchanan Duke did buy this cigarette rolling machine in 1885 and used it to great success; by 1890 he had consolidated his four major competitors, including Allen & Ginter, and formed the American Tobacco Company.[2] The "Allen & Ginter Company" was no more, but Lewis Ginter sat on the board of the American Tobacco Company.

Trading Cards[edit]

An Allen & Ginter baseball card of Charles Comiskey, issued in 1887 (N28).

The cigarette brands of Allen & Ginter included Richmond Gems, Virginia Brights, Perfection, Dandies and Little Beauties. There were various tobacco era sets released as promotional items for these products. The most popular and highly sought after of these sets is the 1888 N28 Allen & Ginter card set.[3]

In 2006 Topps resurrected the Allen & Ginter trading card brand name. As of 2012 it remains one of their most popular, highest selling brands in their product lineup.

Under the Topps banner, Allen & Ginter cards began to feature hand painted cards of current baseball players as well as various insert sets featuring standout athletes in other sports, pop culture icons, and historical figures ranging from Wee-Man to Davy Crockett and everything in between.[4]

From 2006-2009 Dick Perez was commissioned to hand paint special one of one insert cards in the style of Allen & Ginter. Perez created 30 art cards each of those years featuring the prominent stars of the game.[5]

The best known of the Allen & Ginter insert sets however, are the infamous DNA Hair Relic cards. These highly lauded cards feature strands of hair from famous historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, King George III, George Washington and many others [1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wood, James P. (1886). The Industries of Richmond: Her Trade, Commerce, Manufactures and Representative Establishments. Richmond, Virginia: The Metropolitan Publishing Co. pp. 59–60. 
  2. ^ Pritcher, Lynn. "More About Tobacco Advertising and the Tobacco Collections." Duke University Libraries. 24 January 2008. 10 April 2008.
  3. ^ http://www.cardboardconnection.com
  4. ^ http://www.allenandginter.net/ag-cards
  5. ^ "2006 Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Original Sketches". sportscard-checklists.net. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Robert Sobel The Entrepreneurs: Explorations Within the American Business Tradition (Weybright & Talley 1974), chapter 5, James Buchanan Duke: Opportunism Is the Spur ISBN 0-679-40064-8.

External links[edit]

Information on Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Card Sets[edit]