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1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Cards

1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Cards

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Regarded as the first-ever football card set, 1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football is a hobby classic.

Today, even the most well-loved and beat up Mayo's Cut Plug cards still sell for hundreds of dollars.

1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Set Details

The 35-card 1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 set features players wearing college clothing from Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Measuring 1 5/8" x 2 7/8", the mini tobacco cards come with a simple black-bordered design. The player photos are done with a sepia tone. Underneath are the player's last name, school, an ad for P.H. Mayo tobacco and the slogan, "For Chewing and Smoking." The cards are not numbered and have a plain black back.

1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Cards 1

John Dunlop (who is not named on the front and is sometimes referred to as "Anonymous") is the rarest card in the set. It's considered by most to be the T206 Honus Wagner of football cards, the "Holy Grail" against which all other cards are measured. Approximately 10 copies of the card are thought to exist. A Michigan couple found a copy of this 1894 Mayo Cut Plug Football card while cleaning out their farmhouse.

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Another interesting card in 1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 is Poe. The player is believed to be Neilson Poe, who was related to writer Edgar Allan Poe. Neilson's father was the macabre poet's nephew.

1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Cards 3

A testament to the set's condition sensitivity, according to the PSA Population Report, the highest grade a card from 1894 Mayo Cut Plug Football has received is a NM-MT 8. Even then, just a handful have received such a grade. Black borders are tough on cards, even modern ones.

In modern times, a couple of releases have paid tribute to 1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football. 2002 Gridiron Kings had an insert set called Donruss 1894. Each of the 25 cards were numbered to 1000. Players are featured with a photo-realistic black and white drawing. 2008 Topps Mayo brought the classic look back for a full set. A popular set with many collectors, it was followed up in 2009.

Set Checklist

1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Checklist

Base Set Checklist

35 cards.
1894 Mayo Cut Plug N302 Football Cards 4

Robert Acton - Harvard Crimson
George Adee - Yale Bulldogs
Richard Armstrong - Yale Bulldogs
H.W. Barnett - Princeton Tigers
A.M. Beale - Harvard Crimson
Anson Beard - Yale Bulldogs
Charles Brewer - Harvard Crimson
H.O. Brown - Princeton Tigers
C.D. Burt - Princeton Tigers
Frank Butterworth - Yale Bulldogs
Eddie Crowdis - Princeton Tigers
John Dunlop - Harvard Crimson (Anonymous)
Robert Emmons - Harvard Crimson
M.G. Gonterman - Harvard Crimson
George Gray - Harvard Crimson
John Greenway - Yale Bulldogs
William Hickok - Yale Bulldogs
Frank Hinkey - Yale Bulldogs
Augustus Holly - Princeton Tigers
Langdon Lea - Princeton Tigers
William Mackie - Harvard Crimson
Tom Manahan - Harvard Crimson
Jim McCrea - Yale Bulldogs
Frank Morse - Princeton Tigers
Fred Murphy - Yale Bulldogs
Neilson Poe - Princeton Tigers
Dudley Riggs - Princeton Tigers
Phillip Stillman - Yale Bulldogs
Knox Taylor - Princeton Tigers
Brinck Thorne - Yale Bulldogs
Thomas Trenchard - Princeton Tigers
William Ward - Princeton Tigers
Bert Waters - Harvard Crimson
Arthur Wheeler - Princeton Tigers
Edgar Wrightington - Harvard Crimson


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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

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