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John Baines of Bradford invented the Football Card in 1885. The cards were of local and national sporting teams. There were also some international teams as well as some cards of individual personalities and sporting heroes.

The cards were sold in packets of 6 and cost 1/2d. From the time of their invention to their demise in the early 1920’s, more than 20 million cards were produced. Young people sought to collect as many as possible as there were prizes for collecting as many cards in a given time period as well as weekly prizes.

The prizes were generally a football jersey but there were also such things as a Musical box with accompaniments.

Every 10000th card produced was a gold card and if you found one in your packet you could also win a prize. There were prizes for returning bags as well.

The cards were printed in Brighouse and Leeds.

On the reverse of some of the cards was the trade mark 197161 and details of the Gold Medal won at the Bradford Trades and Industrial Exhibition. Also on the reverse of some of the cards is the Royal Crest of Queen Victoria as John held Royal Letters patent nos. 13173 & 80607. The reverse of some cards carried details of the business and advertising was sometimes present, such as Pears Soaps and St. Jacob’s Oil as used by Mr Lewis, trainer, at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

On occasions John would ask for essays to be written or football cards to be drawn in a weekly competition. The prize was a football. Cards were sometimes given out at local cinemas to the attendees at a Saturday matinee.

The business passed to John’s son, John Alexander Baines before eventually being sold to a company based in George Yard Barnsley.

The cards were sometimes distributed from a horse and van as is shown in the photo with John in attendance.

John ran his business from premises at 72 Carlisle Road and 32 Oak Lane Bradford as well as from 48 Nelson Road Gillingham Kent.

John Baines also had a dolls hospital at 15 North Parade Bradford.