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Lot # 1253 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1913 Piedmont Cigarette Advertising Poster with Honus Wagner

Starting Bid - $200.00, Sold For - $1,645.00

Extremely rare and possibly unique 1913 Piedmont advertising display featuring Honus Wagner. It has long been believed that the promotional association between Honus Wagner and The American Tobacco Company began, and ended, with his short-lived inclusion in the T206 tobacco set issued between 1909 and 1911. Not so. Offered here, in this remarkable find, is evidence that despite Wagner's objection to the use of his image on a tobacco card, it did not discourage Piedmont from promoting his endorsement in another, less overt, manner. Issued in 1913, this large-format advertising display features a photo of the Pittsburgh Pirates in a classic team pose. Wagner, of course, is among the twenty-one players pictured, as are manager Fred Clarke, Max Carey, and Babe Adams. Wagner's name, however, is the only one invoked within the company's advertising text in the lower right that reads "In the diamond game 'Honus' Wagner hits around '400' - in the smoke game Piedmont Cigarettes are in the same 'star' class." The cleverly worded advertisement appears to avoid any legal entanglement for the company while at the same time serves to create the illusion of Wagner's personal endorsement of Piedmont cigarettes. Piedmont, as most collectors are aware, is the one of the primary brand names found on the back of T206 tobacco cards. We will never know for sure, but perhaps the wording of this advertising display was the company's sly way of retaliating against Wagner for not cooperating with plans for his inclusion in the T206 set, and obtaining his endorsement without his cooperation. To the best of our knowledge, this is a previously unknown advertising piece. When we were called with a description of this item by a noncollector in Georgia (who found this advertising poster and several others in the wall of a house he was renovating), we were stunned. It could be in better shape, but the fact is that this is the only advertising item that has ever surfaced produced by a T206-related tobacco brand (aside from the T206 Wagner card itself) that pictures Wagner or presents his endorsement in any way for any of the T206 tobacco company brands. At this late date, closing in on one-hundred years since first issued in 1909, it is very rare to find any newly discovered item of significance relating to the T206 set, let alone an item with great significance to the legend of the T206 Honus Wagner card. Tears, creases, and missing paper will certainly affect the monetary value of this piece, but its great significance is unrelated to its monetary value. To us, this is an exciting find. The poster is accompanied by an equally rare 1913 poster featuring the Washington Senators. This is one of several different posters found, and is included with the Pirates poster to show that these advertising posters were, in fact, part of a series of advertising posters issued that year. Unlike the Pirates poster, the Senators advertising display mentions no player's name in the text and simply reads "Piedmont Cigarettes - known to fans everywhere. Greatest sale of an 5c. cigarette in the country!" Both advertising pieces (each measuring 18.75 x 12.5 inches) are in Poor to Fair condition, exhibiting tack holes in the corners, fold lines and numerous small to moderate tears. Most of the tears are relegated to the white border areas and when matted (or if professionally restored), each would present in a more flattering light. This is truly an exceptional discovery and one that further adds to the mystique and lore of the famed T206 Honus Wagner tobacco card. Total 2 posters. Reserve $200. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $1,645.00


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