Recent eBay Scores, Part 9, And That’s It, For Now (I Think)
September 3rd, 2010 by slangon

So here’s the last of the pile of cards that I had gotten off of eBay over the last month or two. As promised, it is the oldest of the bunch, as well as being the oldest card in my entire collection.

1888 N2 Allen & Ginter Celebrated American Indian Chiefs Chief Striker

When I first saw this card up for auction, I think it was at around $2.50 or so, but with a long time left on it. I can’t remember exactly, but I want to say it was about 4 days left in the auction, or there abouts. I’ve always wanted an original Allen & Ginter card, regardless of the subject. Actually, although I would love to have an original Allen & Ginter baseball card, I would almost rather have a non-baseball subject, just because I always love the non-baseball subjects in the new Ginter sets. (Well, not always. I looking your way, Max Poser.) Anyway, long story short, even though there was a while to go in the auction, I threw down a $5.00 maximum bid and kind of forgot about it, not at all expecting to even get the high bid, nevermind win the card.

But win the card I did, and not for my maximum bid, either. I won this sucker for the tidy sum of $3.47. I guess I can thank those 2 blobs of missing paper right across Chief Striker’s face for that.

This card is from the Allen & Ginter Celebrated American Indian Chiefs set which was put  out in 1888. It is designated N2 by the American Card Catalog. The “N” is for 19th Century Tobacco cards. From what I’ve seen of ACC designations, the number almost seems arbitrary. I mean this set was from 1888 and is N2, whereas the famous Allen & Ginter World’s Champions set from 1887 is N28. This particular set apparently was also released in a larger size, maybe cabinet size, and that was designated N36. There are 50 cards in the set, obviously depicting famous American Indian Chiefs.

Also, 4 of the cards had error variations. I guess some of the images were printed with the wrong name. At some point it got fixed, however, and the error versions are scarcer. Yes, thats right, even back then card companies were making variations to confound completists, although I’d wager that in this case it was a printer or art department screw up rather than a marketing strategy.

I was reading a description of this set of cards on the Robert Edward Auctions site, and they brought up a really good point that really strikes me as interesting. They remind us that “it is fascinating to note that the great Indian chiefs featured were not ancient historical figures when the set came out, but then-current legends, and most (maybe all) were still alive when this set was issued.” I guess you sometimes forget things like that when you’re looking at the card 122 years after it was released. I wonder how much royalties the chiefs received for the use of their likenesses. I mean, the tobacco company must have offered the indians some sort of compensation, right?

Here we have the back of the card. Not a write up to be seen. Like all the original Allen & Ginter cards (and I believe tobacco cards in general), they never really put any info about the subject on the reverse. It was mostly either an advertisement for their fine tobacco products, or like on this one, a checklist of all the cards in the particular set. Seeing the back of this card makes me realize what a fine job Topps did in designing their versions of A&G. I’d almost go so far to say that the Allen & Ginter logos that Topps came up with are more old-tymey looking than the one on the back of the actual old-time Ginter card. Almost, but not quite.

I was a little bit disappointed when I tried to find some information on Striker himself. I guess he’s not as celebrated as Allen & Ginter tried to make him out. The little bit I was able to find out was a small paragraph from a book on Native American pottery. It was actually a caption for a photograph that wasn’t displaying.

“According to information on the reverse of the photograph, Striker was a Kiowa-Apache subchief from the Kiowa Reservation, Oklahoma. He was born ca. 1822 and may also have been known as Equestrian, Ta-Ho and Da-Ho.”

Another site had these image captions, without the images.

5. Ta-Ho. Equestrian. (Front.) Essa-Queta

6. Ta-Ho. Equestrian. (Side.) Essa-Queta
A sub-chief of his band. Age, about 50 years; height, 5 feet, 11 inches; circumference of head, 23 inches; chest, 45 inches.

I think that both sets of captions are referring to the same photograph. Although neither site actually showed the image, I tracked down what I think is the picture in question at a different site. It’s pretty clearly the photo that this card was based on. There was also one other photo of him on the same site. That was pretty cool to see, but I wish I could’ve found something more about him. When you type in “striker apache” in Google, 99.999% of the returns are about helicopters.

One Response to “Recent eBay Scores, Part 9, And That’s It, For Now (I Think)”

  1. Here’s the album cover for that set.

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