(Zim’s Note: The pictures below only show a portion of the actual cards, click on the pictures for the full view.)
Baseball cards were first issued during the 1880s when tobacco companies used them to promote sales. Although they also served periodically to stiffen soft cigarette packages, advertising was their primary function, for as early as 1887 cards and cigarettes were packed in more rigid “slide and shell” boxes which had no need for reinforcement. Although the cards vary in design and format, most are 2 5/8 x 1 1/2 inches, much smaller than today’s trading cards.
Information and photos via the Library of Congress’ Benjamin K. Edwards Collection.