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1874 "First Nine" Cigar Label
Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $812.00
Issued in 1874 to promote "First Nine" cigars, this extremely rare cigar box label is one of the earliest known examples featuring a baseball game scene. While the label has long enjoyed that elite status among collectors, the true significance of this label is even greater. The "First Nine" label was issued in commemoration of the 1874 tour of England by the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Stockings. That celebrated tour, which was the brainchild of Boston pitcher Albert Spalding, represented the first overseas baseball tour in history and paved the way for Spalding's much more ambitious World Tour in 1888/89. The colorful illustrated game scene pictures the tourists at Kennington Oval, one of the premier cricket venues in London. While the rosters of each club included many notable players of the era, including Cap Anson, Albert Spalding and George Wright, the images featured on the label are generic in nature. It is interesting to note that in addition to introducing English fans to baseball, the tourists also donned cricket gear and competed against a number of local clubs. The record shows that the Americans won all seven of their cricket matches; however, they fielded eighteen players while their opponents used twelve. This is an exceptionally rare, early tobacco label as well as an extremely significant historical memento commemorating baseball's first overseas tour. The label (4.5 x 5.5 inches), which is manufactured by Harris & Son, Philadelphia (as noted in the lower left), displays a few mounting remnants on the reverse and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. Reserve $200. Estimate $400/$800. SOLD FOR $812.00
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