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1888 N403 Yum Yum Tobacco Esterbrook
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $4,930.00
Exceptionally attractive sample card from this extremely rare and popular nineteenth-century baseball card issue features a tremendous portrait of Indianapolis first baseman "Dude" Esterbrook. Esterbrook was one of the nineteenth-century's most eccentric and colorful players. He was noted for not being able to concentrate on the game "when there is a pretty woman in the stands," as reported by Sporting Life. He was also at the center of a major "raiding" controversy when John B. Day, as owner of both the Metroplitans of the American Association and the New York Giants, moved Mets stars Tim Keefe and Esterbrook to the Giants. After his playing career, Esterbrook became unstable. Much of his energy was spent developing theories relating to modifying his behavior in odd ways, such as exercising in the street and pretending to be ten years old, believing that by doing so he could extend his life span to 150+ years. Esterbrook's eccentricity turned to insanity. In 1901 his family decided that he was a serious danger to himself. Enroute by train to a state mental hospital, accompanied by his brother and an attendant, Esterbrook tried to escape the moving train via the window in the lavatory, and suffered a fatal concussion. A beautiful example from one of the rarest sets of the era. Very slight corner wear, extremely bold contrast, and with a very interesting pose, featuring Esterbrook clearly looking not at the camera, but way up and away to the right, lost in his own thoughts. This card was declined for grading by SGC due to the ever-so-slight, virtually undetectable waviness of its borders. While we understand SGC's rationale, it is also our strong opinion that this card is not trimmed, and that it is as made. The production quality, including the precision of the cut, of some nineteenth-century cards, particularly very low production-run cards from small companies such as Yum Yum, is often imperfect and can vary. As advanced collectors will universally acknowledge, this "comes with the territory" with some nineteenth-century rarities. We grade this card Vg-Ex/Ex(downgraded from Excellent primarily due to the most minute hairline crease visible only from reverse, possibly just a paper production flaw as made). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $4,930.00
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