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:

1. McNiven’s Toffees Cricketers 1928-29 (Australian trade card issue).

The rarest by a long way of Don Bradman’s rookie cards, this is the only card whose whereabouts are known and one of at least two cards in total. The whereabouts of the other, in a full series auctioned by Christie’s in Australia in 2000, is unknown.

Don Bradman

2. Ogden’s Australian Test Cricketers 1928-29 (UK cigarette card issue).

The most common of his rookie cards, with probably several thousand cards still in existence, albeit pretty hard to get hold of one and not at all cheap to do so. As I write there are at least half a dozen of these cards available on eBay in various conditions and at various prices, and another half a dozen are indicated to have been sold in the previous 90 days across the site..

3. Hoadley’s Chocolates Cricketers 1928-29 (Australian trade card issue).

Undoubtedly a scarce card series, Hoadley’s issued several sets of cricket cards in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. It uses the same image as the Ogden’s card. Bradman’s Hoadley’s rookie card is highly collectible and very valuable.

4. W.D. & H.O. Wills Cricket Season 1928-29 (UK cigarette card issue)

Mass produced as per Ogden’s but probably somewhat more scarce, this is an unnumbered series of 48 player cards, scarce most assuredly although undoubtedly many hundreds of Bradman cards have survived. Still a lovely rookie card.

5. Giant Brand Licorice 1930 (Australian trade card issue)

Two cards here, only fronts, one autographed. Giant Brand was probably part of Hoadley’s Chocolate, hence the similarity to the 1933 issue, see below.

6. John Player & Sons Cricketers 1930 (UK cigarette card issue)

A mass produced issue to coincide with Australia’s Ashes Tour to England that year.

7. Churchman’s Sporting Celebrities 1931 (UK cigarette card issue)

A mass produced issue of caricatures of famous sportsmen.

8. Allen’s Cricketers 1932 (Australian trade card issue)

Allen’s clearly did two issues in 1932 featuring Bradman. This one of general cricketers, the second dedicated to Bradman’s records broken.

9. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 1, (Australian trade card issue)

Note the back is also Card No.2 but different to the other Card 2 back!!

10. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 1, (Australian trade card issue)

I don’t have a copy of the reverse but it also appears that this is card no.1!

11. Allen's 1932 Bradman's Records, card 2, (Australian trade card issue)

12. Allen's 1932 Bradman's Records, card 3, (Australian trade card issue)

13. Allen's 1932 Bradman's Records, card 4, (Australian trade card issue)

A familiar image used on this card!!

14. Allen's 1932 Bradman's Records, card 5, (Australian trade card issue)

15. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 6, (Australian trade card issue)

16. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 8, (Australian trade card issue)

17. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 11, (Australian trade card issue)

18. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 12, (Australian trade card issue)

It appears they used this image on (at least) 3 cards in the series, all with different backs.

19. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 13, (Australian trade card issue)

20. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 13, (Australian trade card issue)

I only have a photo of the reverse of this card!!

21. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 15, (Australian trade card issue)

22. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, card 26, (Australian trade card issue)

23. Allen’s 1932 Bradman’s Records, number unknown, (Australian trade card issue)

23. Godfrey Phillips BDV 1932 (Australian cigarette card issue)

24. Sweetacre’s 1932 (Australian trade card issue)

25. Sweetacre’s Test Match Record 1932 (Australian trade card issue)

26. Hoadley's Chocolates 1933, (Australian trade card issue)

27. Allen's Cricketers 1934, (Australian trade card issue)

28. Amalgamated Press (The Champion magazine) Sportsmen of the World 1934 (UK trade card issue)

29. Carrera's 1934 Cricketers, (UK cigarette card issue)

30. Dudgeon & Arnell (Patrol Tobacco) "1934 Australian Test Cricketers" 1934, (Australian cigarette card issue)

31. Gallaher's Champions 1934, (UK cigarette card issue)

32. John Players's 1934 Cricketers, (UK cigarette card issue)

33. Stephen Mitchell's A Gallery of 1934, (UK cigarette card issue)

34. Carrera's Popular Personalities 1935, (UK cigarette card issue)

35. Pattreiouex Sporting Events and Stars 1935 (UK cigarette card issue)

36. Postcard "Australian & English Cricketers" 1936, (UK postcard issue)

37. Allen's Cricketers 1936, (Australian trade card issue)

It seems they issued two cards, this one I don't have a photo of the reverse.

38. Allen's Cricketers 1936, (Australian trade card issue)

39. Ardath Sports Champions 1936, (UK cigarette card issue)

40. Griffiths' Cricketers 1936, (Australian trade card issue)

41. Griffiths' Cricketers 1936, (Australian trade card issue)

Perhaps the same issue but with a different back,

42. Records postcard 1936 - date estimate, (UK postcard issue)

43. Amalgamated Press - The Champion Record Breakers Stamp Album 1936 (UK trade card issue)

A well known boy's magazine of the era.

44. Ardath Photocards 1937 (UK cigarette card issue)

45. Ardath Photocards 1938 (UK cigarette card issue)

46. Hoadley's Chocolates Test Cricketers 1938, (Australian trade card issue)

47. Ogden' Prominent Cricketers of 1938 (UK cigarette card issue)

48. Player's Cricketers 1938 (UK cigarette card issue)

49. Cole's Cricketers 1946 (Australian trade card issue)

50. Cole's Cricketers 1947 (Australian trade card issue)

51. Cole's Cricketers 1947 (Australian trade card issue)

52. Amalgamated Press Radio Fun 1947 (UK trade card issue)

53. Kiddy's Cricketers 1948 (UK trade card issue)

54. Nabisco "Leading Cricketers" 1948 (UK trade card issue)

Don Bradman Rookie Card

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