JOHN BAINES Litho, Manningham Bradford sports cards from Pears Soap to J.Baines Ltd 1882 - 1926

This history of John Baines cards dates the oldest sports cards in the world accurately.

John Baines was not a printer, he was a lithographer. He employed designers & etchers then

Baines outsourced their designs, as finished plates, to printers like Alf Cooke & Berry Brothers.

Baines cards history, the dates :

1882 Simple shield designs, no players, 1-colour team name cards, primitive designs, plain backs some with Baines Cigars rubber stamps.

1882 Square cards with "Baines Lucky Bags" backs, printed by Alf Cooke of Leeds.

1882 First use of 'Good Morning Pears Soap' cards (no baby) shield shapes, team names no players E.G. Bradford Zingari, a club which was defunct by 1883:

Bradford Zingari played in gold

1883 Star-shapes (triangle overlaid on clover) & shield cards without coat of arms, cricket & football word making, famous players 68 Carlisle Road

1883 Octagonal-shape cards, Australian cricketers 1st Ashes Test match series, no coat of arms, cricket & football word making,  68 Carlisle Road

1883 2nd series of star shape cards (triangle over clover) famous players WITH sportsmen coat of arms, cricket & football word making,  68 Carlisle Road

1883 Famous players on Pears Soap (no baby) shield cards, no address, J.Baines Litho Manningham, E.G. Bonsor, captain of Bradford.

 NOTE: newspapers of early 1884 reported on these very cards!

1884 Ball shape cards & shields with redesigned, different sportsmen coat of arms, cricket & football cards, 68 Carlisle Road

1885 final issues of cards with the sportsmen coat of arms & "word making" legends, ball shaped cards, 68 Carlisle

  thenceforth Royal Beasts crests and only legends mentioning football & cricket prize packets are mentioned.

1885 star, shields (various sizes) and heart-shaped cards, 68 Carlisle Road

1886 "Cup Ties" back cards (annual competition end-date stated as April 1887) 68 Carlisle Road

During 1886 Baines acquired a patent 80607 and a 2nd address at 72 Carlisle Road,

- for a short time some cards bear both 68 & 72 Carlisle Road

1886 Baines Litho cards start seeing the first use of the newer Pears Soap backs (with a baby) which ran until the early 1890s

1886 star, shields (various sizes) and heart-shaped cards, 72 Carlisle Road

1887 onwards a new, larger shield card, the largest of 3 shields now used by Baines, appears. It has upturned shoulders

1887 fan-shaped cards,  no protecting patent,  three Baines backs known, each different Royal Beasts, each 72 Carlisle Road

1888 fan-shaped cards with protecting patent 13173 advertising backs, shops & soaps, ointments, etc  Baines Litho Manningham, no address

1888 cards shaped like handheld rugby balls are seen, Pears Soaps & Baines 72 Carlisle backs are known

1888 oval-shapes, 72 Carlisle

1889 new address, with double numbers: 65 & 72 Carlisle Road, these cards date between 1889 and 1891

1890 saw the first rectangular cards, large rugby commemoratives for the home nations rugger tournament

1891 yet another new address, double: 65 Carlisle Road AND 15 North Parade dates from mid 1891 onwards

1895 address becomes just 15 North Parade

After an 1895 award Baines may start adding gold medals but it seems they only arrive on cards after 1897 

1897 "Gem" and "Green Eleven Silver Seven" cards backs are seen

After 1898 patent number 197161 is seen on cards

1900's only the basic shield shape, 15 North Parade, gold medal backs

1909 1st time "J.Baines Ltd" is seen on cards - Ltd = Limited, a registered company limited by shares.

1909 onwards heirs run 2 firms bearing Baines' name, J.Baines and J.Baines Ltd

1910 until around 1916 J.Baines Ltd 15 North Parade

1910 onwards J Baines Oak Lane

1916-1926 J.Baines Ltd, George Yard,  Barnsley

1923-1926  J.Baines Nelson Road, Gillingham


THANKS to James Crick, great-grandson of John Baines senior, for his help with this definitive history

James, who'll be 65 years old this year, in July 2017,  is grandson to John Baines junior!

His grandmother & his great uncles & aunt, including Alex Shaw Baines (died Bradford fire, 1985, RIP) feature on Baines cards.

His grandmother, Winifred Elsie Shaw Baines, features on a 1920's Nelson Road, Gillingham card as a baby with initials "W.E.S.B."! 



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