This page highlights a good number of cricket and sports cigarette and trade cards on which Don Bradman appeared, but as an introduction sports cards and in particular cricket cards (cards in general were issued covering any number of subjects, not merely sports, for example animals, flags of nations, military, cars, film stars and celebrities, etc) tended to be issued by either cigarette manufacturers, the original 1890’s idea being as packet stiffeners but subsequently as a collectible that enhanced sales and encouraged customer participation, and also by a great variety of other commercial businesses, which are collectively known as trade cards.
Issuers here could and did operate any number of types of business, but a few of the more obvious areas in which issuers are prevalent are in magazine publications, where for example sports cards often were included or given away with magazines aimed at sports enthusiasts or children; confectionery cards, including chocolate, toffee and chewing gum manufacturers, are a large segment of total trade card issuance, of course McNiven’s Toffees fits in here; any number of other companies from toy manufacturers, and in recent years in particular companies dedicated to issuing collectible sports cards to enthusiasts in no way connected with marketing their main product, ie where the cards themselves are the company’s main product, have become prevalent. The list of issuers is pretty extensive and all but endless, companies that manufactured or sold jam, cereals, baking soda, soap, tea, biscuits, spirits, razor blades, petrol, etc.
And so to address the concept of a “rookie card”, much sought after among many collectors: A rookie card is the first issued card or cards of a sportsman from the first season for which cards were issued for him. There are often multiple rookie cards although their scarcity individually will mainly determine their value. So for example the Brazilian footballer Pelé first appeared in cards as a 17 year old member of Brazil’s 1958 World Cup squad, and a number of card manufacturers issued cards at the time to commemorate that tournament, all of which are considered “rookies”. In Bradman’s case, although his debut season was 1927-28, the four known series of cards in which he features for the 1928-29 season, issued by McNiven’s Toffees, Ogden’s, Wills’ and Hoadley’s Chocolates, are all “rookie cards” whereas later issues are not.
Just a note to reflect what a big star Bradman was – in 1932 Allen’s, the Australian confectionery company, issued a series of 32 cards, some shown below, dedicated only to Bradman and the various records that he’d broken and in several cases smashed over the previous five years. Very few sportsmen in any sport have had a whole card issue dedicated to them exclusively!
Please note that this list is in no way meant to be all encapsulating of the issues on which Don Bradman featured. There are bound to be others! So the following is by no means a comprehensive list of Don Bradman’s appearances in the world of sports cards, he also appeared on several postcards, two included, but it acts as an interesting guide: