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Lot # 42 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Milligan and Larkin, Athletics - Only Example Known

Starting Bid - $2,500.00 , Sold For - $17,625.00

Graded EX+ 70 by SGC. Extremely high-grade double-player pose Kalamazoo Bats tobacco card featuring catcher Jocko Milligan tagging out left fielder Henry Larkin. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only example known of this particular card. Kalamazoo Bats is a fascinating set. While all Giants and Mets portrait cards are incredibly rare, a few Philadelphia player cards are also inexplicably rare, and this card certainly falls into that category. In fact, this is the very example which was used for checklisting purposes to determine that the card existed at all. It is also a particularly interesting two-player Kalamazoo Bats card. This card features incredible background detail, one of the many qualities for which the Kalamazoo Bats set is especially noted, but the background of this particular card has an extraordinary characteristic. One of the many striking aspects of this card is the extremely misplaced background canopy. Many Kalamazoo Bats use a background canopy, which is part of the charm of the set, to create a great looking outdoorsy background, but in this example the canopy covers only 70% of the background, accidentally exposing the wood slats which support the canopy and the cinder blocks of the building in the immediate background. Looking at this card closely, the photograph is somewhat comical, as the illusion that is supposed to be created by the canopy background is unmercilessly shattered by the background error, totally undermining the very serious acting efforts of the Milligan and Larkins. They look like buffoons! Perhaps this image was originally intended to be cropped differently, much further to the left, or maybe it was even originally intended to be a photograph for a vertical card, but the result is one of the most amusing and ridiculous photographs to ever appear on a nineteenth-century baseball card. We have wondered if it is possible that the extreme rarity of this card is somehow related to the background error. Perhaps when the error was noticed they stopped issuing this card? We will probably never know for sure, but we assume there is some reasonable explanation for why this particular card is so extremely rare, and can't help but note that the card is very distinctive in an extremely interesting and unusual way. This is a stunning card in all respects: bright, crisp, and clean, both front and back, and with sharp corners, and superb contrast. We grade this card Ex-Mt. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $17,625.00


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