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1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Team Card
Starting Bid - $1,500.00, Sold For - $16,100.00
The Cincinnati Reds were the very first professional baseball team. Led by Harry and George Wright, they toured the nation and went undefeated for ninety-two consecutive games. In the process, they paved the way for baseball as a professional sport. This carte-de-visite photograph of the 1869 team is one of collecting's most classic and historically significant baseball cards. There are actually several different styles of 1869 Red Stockings team cards, all with the same photograph but with slightly different mounts. This is a very unusual variety, with the team name and players identified on the reverse in purple. When this card was issued, the new technologies allowing for the mass production of photographs were in their infancy. Various popular subjects were candidates for such cards, especially famous political figures, entertainers, and famous geographical and architectural sites from far away places. These carte-de-visite photographs were intended to be saved and stored in albums. In an age without television and little travel, these cards were a revolutionary tool allowing people to learn about the world around them. It is not surprising that photographs of the 1869 Red Stockings were a popular subject purchased and saved by fans. The team was a legend in its own day, though at the time, of course, no one could have imagined that the game of baseball would soon evolve into The National Pastime that we know today. This example is fresh to the hobby, saved in an original album since 1869 along with many other CDVs. It was the only baseball-related CDV in the album. We will never know whether the original owner saw the Reds play, or was given the card as a gift, or purchased it because of an interest sparked by reading about the famous club. Being stored in an album all these years, the card has been very well protected from light and has survived with exceptional contrast. The photo quality of 1869 CDVs is often very poor, and many times the contrast does not even allow for the reading of the "C" logos on players' shirts. The photo contrast on this example is simply outstanding. It is really about as good as it gets for this card. The mount exhibits very little wear. The slight clipping in the extreme corners of the mount appears to be as issued by the card manufacturer. We say this because, while clipped corners are not uncommon for 1860s CDVs (relating to their storage in specially designed CDV albums), the corners of the actual photograph on the mount are also clipped in the identical manner, and this design element had to be done by the card manufacturer prior to being placed on the mount. A horizontal crease is can be seen upon very close examination from the reverse but is virtually undetectable from the front. Overall in Very Good to Excellent condition. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $16,100.00
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