On the heels of last week's Rails and Sails post, I thought I would share some artwork scans from the set. Despite the mismatch of styles for Rails versus Sails, I consider this set to be the apotheosis of the Topps Giant Size Non-Sports cards. The artwork on the front of the cards is often stunning, always well-executed and there is a wide range of subjects in both look and time. Then there are the card backs, which were so well thought out and colorful for both modes of transportation. I imagine it was was fairly time-consuming set to create and may have been a little expensive as well, although if it was, had more to do with the backs than the fronts I'd say. The artwork was paid at per-the-piece rates of the day but some of the Rails copy (and/or possibly stock photographs used for the illustrations) came courtesy of American Car & Foundry and I suspect Topps may have had to pay for it. Not all of the Rails cards carried "Courtesy A.C.F. Industries Inc." indicia of course, some were from foreign railroads or, obviously, not manufactured by ACF.
The original art has bubbled up in a few batches over the years, mostly around 15-18 years ago with some "finds" larger than others. Today I want to ride the rails portion of the set and here's a great-looking original, which is the Casey Jones' Loco operated by the Illinois Central Railroad:
Sweet, right? Here's the reverse where you can see what I mean about the design: