Published by Peck & Snyder, a New York-area sporting goods company, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings card is considered the first true baseball card. Issued as an advertising trade piece, the card exists in two different styles, one measuring 4-3/16” by 3-5/16” (large) and the other 3-15/16” by 2-3/8” (small). The cards have either a red or a black border (the latter usually found on the larger cards) with a sepia team photograph affixed to the front of a cardboard mount. The reverse features a baseball caricature with a Peck and Snyder advertisement.
This card, featuring the first professional team in the game, is considered by many hobbyists to be the first true baseball card. Managed by Harry Wright, the Red Stockings would dominate their opposition in 1869, giving ample reason for the New York area sporting goods company (Peck & Snyder) to create such a card. A sepia photograph is mounted on the front with a large ballplayer cartoon and advertisement on the reverse. These cards came in two different sizes, one measuring approximately 43/16 by 35/16 (large) and the other measuring 315/16 by 23/8 (small). From the classic uniforms to the boot-like shoes, the photograph captures the birth of our great pastime at the professional level. Can you imagine playing baseball without gloves? That is exactly what these pioneers had to do. This card symbolizes the beginning of the hobby that millions of collectors have come to enjoy ever since.