SPORTS AND PASTIMES OF ALL NATIONS
Size: 3" x 5" or 5" x 3"
This is a series of 51 cards, numbered from 1 to 50 (including two different #24's) on the back of each card near the top left-center.
The front of each card is a multi-colored illustration, in either horizontal (40 cards) or vertical (11 cards) format, which includes several scenes depicting the history of the various sports and pastimes of "all nations". As you'll see, the words "all" and "nations" are used rather loosely here.
The back of each card contains only text in a horizontal format, printed in a shade of blue. The left third contains identical text explaining the benefits of grinding your coffee at home. The remainder of the back contains the name of the "nation" depicted, a very brief synopsis of the place and its people, and a description of the recreational activities most commonly associated with them. (See example).
This is perhaps the most entertaining series of all the Arbuckle cards (at least, in my opinion). The illustrations (reputedly drawn by Frances Brundage, but not signed) are very bright, lively, and sometimes whimsical. The descriptions on the backs can be downright hilarious, relying heavily on a very stereotypical and often condescending view of the peculiarities of the inhabitants of the world beyond America's doorstep (and some of our own inhabitants, as well). They are not always flattering portrayals. In fact, I'm sure some of them could've been rather offensive to those folks but of course, this was long before the era of "political correctness" in the advertising business.
Cards in this series tend to vary widely in availability due to the popular nature of many of the sports depicted. This makes them appealing to many topical collectors outside the realm of the Arbuckle enthusiast. For instance, baseball is depicted on the United States card, golf is on Scotland, billiards on France, and so on, increasing the competition for selected cards for someone trying to complete the whole set.
The most significant variety in this series can be found on the #24 card, which exists as both Alaska and Greenland, Greenland being by far the scarcer of the two. There are also variations in the length and wording of the Copyright text, which I've attempted to summarize on a Copyright Text Variations - Overview page.
The only other variety that I've noticed in this series is a relatively minor one on the vertical cards, where the reverse text may be oriented in either direction relative to the front of the card. (That is to say, the top edge, when looking at the vertical front of the card, may be aligned with either the left or right edge, when looking at the horizontal back of the card. Thus far, I can only confirm that these varieties exist on 6 of the 11 vertically formatted cards.)
NOTE: Although these cards bear an Arbuckle copyright, their illustrations were also used (presumably at a later date) by several European companies. I've consolidated what information I have and some links to examples of these other cards on a Non-Arbuckle Usage page.
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Copyright © 1999-2012 Jeffrey Buck. All rights reserved.