Baines Football Cards: The Victorian Panini

John Baines began making football cards in Bradford in the mid-1880s. He claimed to be the ‘sole inventor and originator of the famous packet of football cards’, and applied for and received a royal patent. The colourful cards, mostly cut into the shape of a shield, depicted teams, kits, and pen pictures of popular players of the day. Many of them featured the phrase ‘Play up!’ (as in ‘Play up Preston North End!’) and the cards were sometimes referred to as Baines Play Up cards. They were sold in packets of six for a ha’penny (about 10p in today’s money).

Read the full story on the In Bed With Maradona website and in the book IBWM: The First Two Years.

Published by Paul Brown

Writes about football, history, true adventure. The Guardian, Four Four Two, When Saturday Comes, The Blizzard, Longreads, Deadspin, etc. Latest book: The Ruhleben Football Association. Twitter: @paulbrownUK