Presented is a mid-grade example of key Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (New York Giants) from the 1912 S81 Large Silk tobacco premium issue, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and highly regarded of all baseball tobacco issues. S81s were issued at the same time, and as part of the same promotion, as T3 Turkey Reds and L1 Leathers. The S81 silks could be obtained only by mail, in exchange for 20 tobacco coupons per silk. The redeemable coupons were inserted one coupon per pack, so it is not surprising that these premiums are extremely rare. Longtime collectors may notice that Mathewson turns up with far greater frequency than any other player in the S81 set. In the late 1980s, there was a find of S81s. We do not know the exact number of silks in the find, but suspect that it may have been as many as fifty. Most were in high grade, and all were of Mathewson. They have long since been absorbed by the collecting world, and today (especially for old-timers who remember when S81 Mathewsons were around and looking for homes) it is actually surprising that they don't turn up more often. The fact that Mathewson is one of the great stars of the set, and of all time, and that the S81 of Mathewson is one of the most attractive of all Mathewson issues, has no doubt played a role in making these beauties seemingly disappear from the marketplace. This offered silk has a flawless image area with extremely bold, bright colors, and perfect registration. There are very tiny bits of fraying at the top and bottom, as is almost always the case with large silks, along with a few light wrinkles and several needle thread holes around the borders from once being sewn onto something (barely noticeable unless held in the light). This is a very striking example of Christy Mathewson from one of the rarest and most classic of all 1910-era tobacco-premium issues. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+.
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