Cap Anson Baseball Cards

Adrian Constantine “Cap” Anson was born in Marshalltown, Iowa in 1852. He was at Notre Dame for one year before making his debut in the National Association of 1871 (the MLB of the time) at the age of 19. He hit .325 in his inaugural season in the league and topped it next year with a .415 average.

It wasn’t until 1876 that Anson was acquired by the Chicago White Stockings. This year, Anson led the team to win their first NL title in its inaugural year! Yes, tha’ts right, the National league has been around for a very long time.

Adrian Cap Anson was one of baseball’s first-ever superstars. In his 27-year career, the Chicago legend had over 3000 hits, a lifetime .334 batting average, and 94.3 WAR. He was also an innovative coach as it’s rumored he created plays like the hit and run. Anson managed the White Stockings (future Cubs) for 19 seasons and became a player manager.

Anson was also featured on an episode of the Simpsons when Mr. Burns put him on his all-time team.

Cap Anson cards have a strong niche collector base. Since he played on the White Stockings and Colts, many Chicago Cubs collectors want a card as part of their collection. At the same time, pre-war and HOF collectors chase after him as well. Being that 1800s cards are tough to come by, they always fetch a good amount of money at auctions.

Old Judge N172

Cap Anson has many different designs within the N172 and N173 Old Judge sets. The N172s were smaller cards while the N173 is a cabinet. 

In 2009, an SGC 4 did about $3,000. I can only imagine what a nice version like this would do today. However, it’s important to note that sometimes the clearness in the picture of the card can be worth more than the grade itself.

The most expensive Anson card in existence is the Chicago Uniform N 172. Many people consider this the best Old Judge card produced and possibly the best 1800s baseball card. The last sale of the uniform was $60,000+ back in 2001. For reference a PSA 1 Honus Wagner did $100,000 in 2004. 

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Cap Anson in street clothes

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Cap Anson in uniform

Old Judge N173

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This is a cabinet card which was meant to be kept in the none other than a cabinet. It’s oversized and has the same image as the N172.

This large card is not worth as much as the normal sized version or the uniform variation, however it is still worth lots of money. In fact, low-end copies of this card can almost fetch $10,000 

1887 Buchner Gold Coin (N284)

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anson n284 catching

Hands on Hip

Hands Together

While the name may be misleading, these cards were distributed by a tobacco company. Buchner Gold Coins were much thicker and larger cards than some of the other releases within the time period. 

Cap Anson has two different designs within the release. One with his left hand on his hip while the other has him catching a throw at first base.

There has not been many sales of this card, however the hand on hip card has sold for more than the hands together card in the past

1887 Tobin Lithographs

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Black and White

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Color

These cards came in two different variations. One is black and white while the other has color. It features a caricature drawing of Anson with the text “OH, COME OFF”. This is a great entry-level Anson card as you can occasionally find it under the $1,000 threshold. 

1888 Allen & Ginter

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While many collectors know A&G for the annual Topps release, the first set came back all the way in 1888. Cap Anson was one of the 10 baseball players in a release that featured athletes among many different sports like tennis, boxing, and wrestling. 

1888 G&B Gum (E223)

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Full Body Shot

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Portrait

G & B Gum cards were the first-ever baseball cards distributed through a gum or candy product. Although we think its commonplace as a hobby, every other brand during this era focused on selling through tobacco. Within this set Anson has two different images, one of a portrait and the other batting.

1888 Goodwin Champions N 162

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Like Allen and Ginter, this set had a focus on many different sports. These were a bit tougher to find than A&G. Many would consider this Cap Anson to be one of the best-looking cards within the hobby. The imagery is striking in person. Pictures online don’t do it justice.

1888 WG1 Card Game

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This was a game card produced in 1888. It has rounded corners and bright colors. Due to the rounded corners, you can find these in higher grades compared to other cards within the era.

 

1888 Yum Yum Tobacco

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Full Body Shot

yum yum anson

Portrait

These were locally distributed from the August Beck Company in Chicago. As with many of the other releases Anson was in, he has two designs. One portrait and one batting. The images of these card are the same as E223 G&B Gum cards.

1889 E. R. Williams Card Game #15 Cap Anson / Buck Ewing

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Like many of Ansons other cards on the list, this is extremly tough to come by. PSA has graded a total of 10. While it is scarce, it’s actually affordable in high grades compared to many other sets. a PSA 7 sold for $3,700 back in 2021 at Memory Lane. It was part of the Newman collection.

1895 N300 Mayo

This was the last playing day release for Cap Anson. These black border cards really stand out in person with their deep rich colors. Mayos are an iconic set/brand as they made some of the first cards for Boxing and Football. 

2001 SP Legendary Cuts Cut Signature

This Anson was an ssp within the SP legendary cuts set. One of the two examples went up for auction at REA in 2009 and went for an astonishing $13,000. In today’s environment it should reach $20,000+

 

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