* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !

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* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !
* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !
* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !
* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !
* 1886 Arthur Wharton ROOKIE CARD Darlington F.C. Baines THE WORLD's 1st-EVER SOCCER CARD !

Description

update: 17 January 2024, a copy of this card, made by J Briggs of Leeds, also 1886, sold for £33,500.00 (about US$40,000)  in auction, near Reading, GB. See the pictures below!

The world's fastest man in 1886! They called for him to be England's goalie by 1887.

I have turned down good offers for this card, the earliest soccer card in the world, 1886, the first Arthur Wharton card - earlier than all the rest of the Wharton Briggs & Baines cards! Note: the card can be dated by the club he played for at the time, and the address to the rear - dated by commercial records in Bradford as 1886. When I wrote my first book a member of the Baines family, Mr Crick, had not contacted me with the Baines timeline, which can be found on this website. Now we know, thank you Mr. Crick! 

Fact. This shows the 1st soccer player on a sports card.

Fact: this card shows the 1st professional black soccer player on a sports card!

The world's first soccer rookie card, too! 

The world's first sports card dedicated to a soccer player.

Though issued in the same series as Frank Sugg, for Derby County, Sugg is shown as a cricketer on his card,  

With a sprinting-running world record Wharton dedicated himself to soccer, being goalie for  the greatest team in England, Preston North End, after his 1885-87 spell with Darlington.

Wharton was a top goalie in his day - even an exciting goal-getting outfield player! It's sure he could have played for England had it not been for the colour of his skin. After all, by then he was goalie for the best team in the British Isles: a team so good they were known as The Invincibles, Preston North End

So, to recap, this is the earliest card of Wharton. It shows him early on in his career, at Darlington CFC, where he played during  the 1895-1896 season, summer 1885 through Spring 1886. What no doubt caught Baines' ear was the summer 1886 world record run, which is commemorated on this card.

It's the earliest of all known Baines cards of Wharton and it's earlier than the infamous copy, a card made by Baines' rival Briggs, in late 1886. This was before Baines obtained a protection patent 13173, issued in 1887. That's when Baines cornered Briggs and took over the bootlegged stock. That said, the Briggs card of Wharton, which sold for £33,500 GBP in January 2024 is just as rare as this, the original: only 1 is known of each card.

Later fan-shaped cards of Wharton were issued slightly later, in 1887. Other, shield-shaped cards came later still, showing Wharton for Rotherham Town. They are just as rare but this is the first card, the very earliest and the undisputed rookie of rookies, the immortal Arthur Wharton!

Arthur Wharton, the legend about whom the Cass book, "The First Black Footballer, Arthur Wharton 1865-1930", is dedicated. Written by Phil Vasili is a must read! He was not just a great footballer, he was fast, not only on foot, he was also a cycling champion! 

SHOWN FOR PLEASURE. This is in the collection of the author, the site owner and it's not necessarily for sale but the owner will consider serious offers.

See all photos below, which include the 2024 auction of the Briggs card, and one photo shows this card placed next to the Briggs; and the 5 known Wharton Baines & Briggs cards, in museums or with collectors who'll never part with them... until the right offer comes along.