1911 M116 Sporting Life Frank Smith, Boston - Newly Discovered Team Name Variation!
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $4,740
Presented here is a tremendous new discovery from the M116 Sporting Life set that has miraculously lurked in the shadows of the collecting world unseen for more than a century: Frank Smith with a Boston team-name variation. Smith had previously been known in M116 only to appear with the Chicago, Americans. It is not often that we are able to offer a card that is an entirely new addition to a major set's checklist. Most commonly the term "newly discovered" refers to a new example of a known card. In this case, however, an astute hobbyist was perplexed when he noticed something different about the Frank Smith card in his collection and in the process literally rewrote the checklist for this classic prewar set. The M116 card set was issued by Sporting Life ("The Paper That Made Baseball Popular"), and by any measure is one of the most important sets of the era. Sporting Life was no doubt encouraged by the success of the popular tobacco cards of the day, and this issue shares a similar design with the tobacco cards of the era. Sporting Life was a major competitor of The Sporting News in the early part of the twentieth century. M116s are one of the most significant and substantial issues of the era, and are considerably scarcer than their tobacco-card counterparts. Within the M116 set are two ultra-rare team variations which appear on virtually every M116 want list and since 1911 have kept almost all collectors from ever completing their sets: George McQuillan/Cincinnati and Amby McConnell/Chicago. These two players switched teams in the time during which the M116 set was issued (the Sporting Life set was printed over two seasons--1910 and 1911) and in response, Sporting Life changed the team designation on their cards, but the print run for the team-change card was obviously extremely low. Literally only a handful of examples of each are known. In addition to these two variations, legendary collector/dealer/auctioneer Lew Lipset (author of The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards) was responsible for introducing two more team-name changes to the hobby within the past decade: a Johnny Bates/Cincinnati (sold in 2006 for $20,897) and a Cy Seymour/Baltimore (sold in 2004 for more than $18,000). So far, only one example of Bates has been discovered and two of Seymour. The offered Smith/Boston card is also the only known example at this time, and if history repeats itself, is likely to remain that way or find one or two others to share the limelight with at most. The card is graded and encapsulated by SGC as Authentic due to tape repair attaching the broken bottom left corner to the card. A heavy vertical crease is present but the central image is generally pleasing. This card, however, defines "rarity" regardless of its grade! We do not know how this card will be monetarily valued by collectors, but we do know that its enormous significance as a newly discovered card and checklist addition will be universally recognized. We are are confident that the auction process (and, in our opinion, modest opening bid) on this new discovery will establish a true market value. This is an incredible rarity, a card that will now be on every wantlist, and the latest missing piece to the completion of a M116 Sporting Life master set. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,740