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1920 Best-Ever Boys Book of Baseball with Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,185
While false advertising has always been a major consumer complaint in business, it would be impossible for anyone to level such a claim against the company that issued this exceedingly rare book titled Best-Ever Boys Book of Baseball. It really is the best ever boys book of baseball, at least as far as aesthetics are concerned. Actually, Best-Ever is not used here to describe the book, which is really a catalog, but instead refers to the brand name for a line of children's clothes. This small, soft-cover catalog (12 pages) was issued in 1920 as a novel approach to pitch the company's line of new boys' suits directly to its target audience rather than the parents. The lure used here is a familiar one: major league baseball stars. The interior pages feature colorized photos and short biographies of nine of the game's greatest stars, or as they are referred to here, the "Best-Ever All-Star Team": Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Grover Alexander, George Sisler, Ray Schalk, Charles Hollocher, Tris Speaker, Heinie Groh, and Eddie Collins. Small portrait images of each of the nine players also appear on the cover within the design of a "star." Each interior page is dedicated to one player, with his photo appearing in the upper left corner and his biography along the base. The central illustration on each page depicts a young boy wearing a different "Best-Ever" brand suit as he partakes in a baseball game. The two central pages feature information and diagrams regarding the quality of a "Best-Ever" suit. The interior back cover displays the complete 1920 schedules for both the American and National League, while the back cover pictures a Norman Rockwell illustration of three boys modeling their "Best-Ever" suits. This is the first example of this book that we have ever seen, and given its age and fragile nature, we would be surprised to learn if more than just a few have survived. While we have no qualms with the company's choice of players, it is certainly ironic that Jackson was chosen as one of the nine. This catalog was issued just a few months after the 1919 World Series, and, even as children were reading it, rumors where already swirling about the possibility of a "fix." Luckily for the company, Jackson wasn't formally charged with any crime until after the 1920 season. The twelve-page catalog (6.25 x 7.25 inches) is bright and fresh, with a tiny edge tear on the cover which also affects the first page, and an insignificant light diagonal crease in the lower right corner. Bright and fresh. In Excellent condition overall and probably in as fine a condition as one could ever hope to find for this outstanding piece. This is the first example of this magnificent rarity we have ever seen. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185
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