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1888 N338-1 S. F. Hess California League "McGinty Steals A Base"
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $6,463
Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. “1 of 1"! The only N338-1 S. F. Hess California League "McGinty Steals A Base" ever graded by SGC or PSA. This is an incredible rarity! Among the short list of virtually impossible to obtain sample cards, the sepia N338-1 S. F. Hess California League cards have always been at or close to the top. Offered is an amazing two-player example of McGinty ("Steals A Base"). This card exhibits superb photo quality, with extraordinary detail, including advertisements on the outfield wall in the background. Close examination even reveals another player in the background, and with a magnifying glass, most of the lettering of the advertisements on the outfield wall can be easily read. Very clean both front and back, only a heavy vertical crease down the center keeps SGC from grading this exceptional example higher. In addition to being an unusual action scene featuring two players (one of only three in the set), this particular S. F. Hess card is also noteworthy in that it has a very unusual design, with the photograph presented in a "diamond" window. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only card in the set with this unique design. In addition to being the only N338-1 S.F. Hess of this style, it is also the only nineteeth-century card from any set we have ever seen with this design. When Lew Lipset's The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards Volume 1 - 19th Century Cards was published in 1983, he noted that S. F. Hess California League cards "must rate with Four Base Hits as the rarest of the 19th century photographic cards." At that time sixteen cards in the set were known to exist, including eleven different in the Burdick Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Four new additions to the set have been discovered since, including the uniquely designed "McGinty Steals A Base," which was completely unknown in 1983. We believe that only one other example of McGinty is known to exist. The last sample card of any player from this rare set we offered was a PSA 6 example of Levy of the Haverlys, which appeared as Lot #132 in our May 2005 auction and sold for $17,400. (Incredible collecting note: Years ago that card was lost in transit, the loss related to a extremely severe storm, and it presumably no longer exists.) This is a very rare opportunity to acquire an extraordinary and almost impossible to find example of one of nineteenth-century baseball-card collecting's most elusive and prized sample cards. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,463
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