1915 Schmelzer's Sporting Goods Joe Jackson Advertising Pin - Newly Discovered!

Sold For: $5,581

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1324

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Presented is an extraordinary Joe Jackson advertising pinback issued in 1915 by Schmelzer's Sporting Goods of Kansas City. This is a newly discovered example of what by any measure is one of the collecting world's rarest and most desirable baseball pinbacks. When we were first called about this pin, we were naturally skeptical, as fewer than two dozen Schmelzer's pins are even known to exist. We were told by the noncollector that called that this was the only baseball pin in a collection of 200 pins (the other 199 pins were political ones) he had in his possession, and from the description he provided, it appeared that it happened to be a Joe Jackson Schmelzer's pinback. We were soon sent images of the entire collection. The Joe Jackson pin was indeed real, and was by far the highlight of the unusual collection of early political and advertising pinbacks. The pins originally belonged to a man who was a jeweler by trade in Burlington, Kansas, a small town southwest of Kansas City (not coincidentally where Schmelzer's Sporting Goods was located), and were saved by his family for over 90 years. In addition to being the first baseball pin set to combine photos of famous ballplayers with color lithographic artwork, Schmelzers are among the rarest of all baseball celluloids. Each pin in this striking set features a black-and-white portrait image of the player along with a full-color figure of a generic ballplayer to the left, representing a position, which is also noted above the portrait in red lettering. Schmelzer's Sporting Goods pins have been revered by advanced collectors for both their rarity and design since the earliest days of organized collecting. The inclusion of Joe Jackson in the set has always made this issue all the more significant. (Note: Previous to this example, exactly four Joe Jacksons were known to exist. Two of these were from the REA find of 2006 and are in Ex-Mt condition; the third is in Ex condition; and the fourth is in fair condition with serious cracking to the celluloid.) The few cards of Joe Jackson from his playing days (such as E90-1 American Caramel and 1916 M101-4/5 Sporting News) routinely sell for extraordinary sums, yet these cards pale in comparison in terms of rarity to the Joe Jackson Schmelzer's Sporting Goods pins. In our opinion (and we are big fans of pinbacks so maybe we are biased), a strong case can be made that the rarest baseball pinbacks are extremely undervalued and represent an extraordinary value compared to the rarest baseball cards. As baseball pinbacks continue to rise in prominence among the collecting world's most advanced collectors, it would not surprise us if the rarest and most desirable examples someday rival the values placed on similarly rare and desirable cards. Any short list of the era's most desirable baseball pinbacks will include the Jackson Schmelzer's. The pin is in Excellent condition, with very slight wear, with exceptional gloss, and with the original advertising back paper still intact, perfectly centered and flawless on the reverse. On the curl of the pin it is indicated, in tiny letters, that these pins were manufactured for Schmelzer's Sporting Goods by The Whitehead & Hoag Company, the premier pinback-maker of the era. This is a spectacular example of one of celluloid collecting's most desirable and virtually impossible-to-obtain rarities. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,581

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