It became one of America's early fads and collecting crazes. They started out as business/ advertising cards given away to customers. The name of the establishment would be printed on the front with a simple design around the edges. Soon the designs became more ornate and customers started collecting them to put into scrapbooks. This started the age of Victorian scrapbooking in America.Below is a trade card i picked up on eBay a couple of weeks ago. I had been searching for ages for this particular card. It features an afternoon Base Ball game with the crowd in the background. The umpire always fearful of a wild throw sits comfortably inside a birdcage style cage to protect him from danger. I can imagine sitting on the sidelines with an afternoon meal watching the drama unfold before me.
I can never get enough of these inserted autographed cards. They just look great. Below is a Paul LoDuca 2003 Donruss auto card. Since LoDuca's slide from superstar catcher to a "juicing" has-been his cards have become very affordable. I paid 99 cents for this one. The shipping alone cost three times as much as the card.