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1916-1920 W-UNC "Big Head" Strip Cards Near-Complete Set (16 of 20)
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $5,875.00
"Big Heads" strip cards are one of the most distinctive, amusing, and memorable baseball-card sets of any type ever issued. They are extremely rare, and, partly because of that, they have traditionally received little attention. Even the mention of their appropriate yet somehow silly sounding name brings a smile to advanced collectors. This lot includes more "Big Heads" than we have seen in total during the past thirty-six years. Finally, "Big Heads" have their day in the sun! It is long overdue. Few cards elicit the positive emotional reaction from vintage and non-vintage collectors alike as does this set; and for cards that are so incredibly rare, it is simply amazing how very well known they are among advanced collectors. We are guessing that this is because once collectors see a picture of a "Big Head" card, because they are so unusual, they just never forget them, even if they never have the opportunity to collect or see these cards in person. When vintage collectors hear the term "Big Heads," they immediately know exactly what set is being referred to, even though there is no ACC catalog designation and the name of the set has just naturally evolved among collectors due to the design of the cards (which feature artwork of ballplayers with very big heads). It would not surprise us if as few as one-hundred examples in total from this set survive, though not including this collection we have seen only a few samples over the years. It would be hard to imagine a finer collection of "Big Heads."
Presented are sixteen different cards from the set, missing just four for completion of all twenty known cards. The four missing cards are Cobb, Ruth, Sisler, and Judge. Cobb and Ruth are offered as separate lots in this auction. You're on your own for finding Sisler and Judge. This is a very attractive high-grade near-complete set of this colorful early "Strip Card" issue. Three of the cards have been encapsulated AUTH by SGC including Hall of Famers "Home Run" Baker, Rogers Hornsby, and Ray Schalk. Strip cards, of course, are by definition hand-cut, as intended, and are therefore often encapsulated as "authentic" even if they have an Excellent appearance, due to the cuts affecting a small portion of the cutting guidelines. We grade all three of these SGC-encapsulated cards EX. The thirteen non-encapsulated cards are also all bright, clean, and free of creases. The collection has an overall Excellent appearance, though these cards technically grade slightly lower due to even corner wear and, in a few cases, tiny border chips. Considering their fragile nature, the condition of this collection is remarkable. The remaining thirteen cards are comprised of Bagby (small amount of scrapbook paper on reverse, otherwise Vg-Ex), Bancroft (HOF, Vg-Ex/Ex), Bodie (Vg/Vg-Ex), Burns (Vg-Ex/Ex), Cadore (Vg/Ex/Ex), Doyle (Vg-Ex/Ex), Groh (Vg-Ex), Johnson (HOF, tiny border chip, otherwise Vg/Vg-Ex. it is interesting to note that Johnson's name is misspelled "Johnston"), Konetchy (lower left corner chip, otherwise Vg-Ex), Mays (minor remnants of scrapbook paper on reverse, otherwise Vg-Ex/Ex), Milan (Vg-Ex), Rice (HOF, tiny corner chip, otherwise Vg-Ex/Ex), and Schang (remnants of scrapbook paper on reverse, chipping to large left border, was obviously an "end" card, otherwise Vg-Ex). This may be the finest collection of "Big Heads" in the world. It is certainly the finest we have ever seen, with virtually all cards presenting far nicer than suggested by their very respectable and technically accurate assigned grades. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a near-complete set of sixteen players from this extremely interesting and desirable vintage card issue. Total 16 cards. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (Open). SOLD FOR $5,875.00
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