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Lot # 97 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1888 Dark Town Battery Base Ball Bank Trade Card

Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $2,014.50

Presented is one of the great classics of nineteenth-century cards: the extremely rare advertising trade card for the famous Dark Town Battery bank, produced by William Blair & Co. of Chicago. This is the single rarest, most valuable, and desirable of all bank advertising trade cards and all baseball trade cards. Fifteen color trade cards were issued promoting the popular mechanical banks manufactured during the 1880s. These are by far the most highly prized cards among advertising trade-card collectors and are highly sought after by mechanical toy-bank collectors. These cards have always been very valuable. In fact, when Jefferson Burdick first published the American Card Catalog, the mechanical toy-bank advertising cards were listed at the highest average value per card of all cards in the entire catalog. The Base Ball Bank trade card listed for a then extraordinary $7 (this at a time when the T206 Plank listed for $10 and the Wagner listed for $50). Burdick even saw fit to assign the baseball-bank trade card its own ACC catalog number (HB3). The Dark Town Battery trade card, of course, advertises the classic Dark Town Battery mechanical bank. It is the only card from this series which has a baseball theme. Fewer than twenty examples of the Dark Town Battery trade card are known (probably far fewer) and almost all of these are in advanced collections of mechanical banks and trade cards (both long been very popular areas of Americana collecting). The card has several extremely small pinholes on the right portion of the card, which are visible only upon very close inspection, and the "No 27" is written (in what appears to be a pencil notation) very neatly along the top of the card. There are some very light remnants of glue staining on the blank reverse from long ago being carefully removed from a scrapbook. This is a stunning and very rarely seen example of one of the great treasures of all advertising trade cards of the nineteenth century. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+.
SOLD FOR $2,014.50


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