John Baines was one of the first printers of soccer cards, and he may be the very first, starting his business by the early 1880s. The earliest known Baines cards, from around 1882, show a cricketer-&-rugby-player Bradford coat-of-arms boar's head design, on the rear. Later. Mid-1880s issues dropped this design and eventually replaced it with the Lion & the Unicorn crest, around 1886. Various 'special offer' backs, and special edition cards, such as seen above, the "Cup Ties" backs card, did not include a design decoration.

Baines originated the packet of football cards, also in the early 1880s, finally patenting it by the early 1890s.

Gold medal (Bradford exhibition 1894) backs appeared on cards during the last decade of Victoria's reign, and the design was used until the 1920s!

Cards with LTD (Ltd. or Limited) appeared after 1909 when two strands of Baines's family inherited the business from John Baines estate. One heir had to create a Limited Company, with shares, to use the name J.Baines - with "Ltd." The other heirs had been granted the privilege by birth, and carried on using the trading name J.Baines - without the need of "Ltd."

The hairs to John Baines' family made Baines cards until the mid1920s. For far more on Baines please see my books.

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