1903 Boston Red Sox and Royal Rooters "Real Photo" Celluloid Pinback and "Tessie" Song Card

Sold For: $3,819

Auction Year: 2007 spring

Lot: 859

Item Year: 1903

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Extremely rare "real photo" celluloid button featuring the 1903 Boston Red Sox players and the famed Boston Royal Rooters. This is one of the great and most significant rarities of all baseball celluloids. These pins were produced and worn by Boston's famed Royal Rooters during the 1903 World Series against Pittsburgh. The pinback button (1.75 inches in diameter) pictures the Royal Rooters, Boston's rabid contingent of diehard fans, as they pose together with the members of the Boston Red Sox during the 1903 World Series. The photograph used on this pinback was commissioned by Mike "Nuf-Ced" McGreevy, the leader of the Royal Rooters, and was taken immediately after the Red Sox victory in Game 7 at Pittsburgh. The Rooters had traveled en masse to Pittsburgh to support the Red Sox. Their singing of the popular song "Tessie" (which became their battle cry for the next two decades) so unnerved the Pirate players that the Rooters are often credited with helping to turn the tide in the series (Pittsburgh held a three game to one lead in the best-of-nine series before "Tessie" was unleashed upon them). After game 7 McGreevy commissioned Pittsburgh photographer D. Rosser to take a photo of the group posing with the players. Originally, it was McGreevy's intention to hang the photo in his famous 3rd Base Tavern. However, he liked the photo so much he decided to have buttons made bearing the image, which he then immediately distributed to the Rooters. The group wore the buttons on the train ride back to Boston for Game 8 and a photo exists showing the Rooters wearing these buttons upon their return. This particular button is one of only a handful of examples (fewer than five) that have survived the ages and was originally obtained directly from the family of a former Royal Rooter. Accompanying the pin is an extraordinary additional item related to the pin: an original Royal Rooters souvenir song card (2.25 x 4 inches), printed on heavy card stock, which was also distributed to the Royal Rooters at the 1903 World Series by Nuf Ced McGreevy. The top of the blank-backed card reads "Rooter's Souvenir Boston-Pittsburg [sic] Oct, 1903. M.T. McGreevy." Below this, the card features the lyrics to "Tessie" and an advertisement for McGreevy's 3rd Base Tavern. Like the pinback, this item (which is the only example we have ever seen) was specifically produced for use at the 1903 World Series, and is an extraordinarily significant souvenir in its own right of both the Royal Rooters and the 1903 World Series. The card is in Vg-Ex condition. The pin is in Near Mint condition with perfect clarity and is complete with its original pin back. Total 2 items (pin and Tessie song card). Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $3,818.75

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