Baseball cards say a lot about American history. Originally issued by tobacco companies, early cards are equal parts advertisement and celebration of sport. Released in distinct series, the cards are also fine examples of popular graphic design trends and methods of printing (for example, lithography).

In his collecting years, Bejamin K. Edwards amassed more that 12,000 cards on subjects ranging from actresses to United States presidents. 2,100 pieces of this fine selection of Americana are baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914. The forerunners of modern sports trading cards, these collectables found players in full action or in stiff pose. In either case, they reveal personal style and some of the best names in history.

The Benjamin K. Edwards Collection now lives in the Library of Congress' Prints and Photographs Division.

Check out some highlights of the collection, 25 Amazing Antique Baseball Cards.

Tags: baseball, baseball-cards, design, graphic-design, advertising
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