Circa 1879 Buffalo Bisons Cabinet Card Collection (6)

Sold For: $3,231

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 32

Item Year: 1879

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Cards (1830-1899)

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Extraordinary collection of six exceedingly rare 1879 Buffalo Bisons photographic cabinet cards, each designed with small illustrated vignettes relating to games previously played by the Bisons earlier in the season. These cards are part of a unique series of cabinet cards relating to the 1879 Buffalo Bisons, all of which feature elaborate artistic designs and detailed information about the players and games communicated in a comical manner. These are extraordinary relics, extremely rich in historical content, and reminiscent of early political cartoons of the era. It is not known how many such Buffalo Bisons cards were produced in 1879, but we have seen just a few other examples over the years. This is by far the largest collection we have ever seen. Based upon the language and captions of the cards ("Be sure to see the game tomorrow," "Don't fail to see the Bostons and Buffalos tomorrow," etc.), it appears they were distributed as promotional vehicles to help generate fan interest and entice people to come out to the ballpark and root their Bisons on, as well as provide commentary and reporting on recent games, including scores. All of the cards reference many specific players (many of whom play for Buffalo), including Pud Galvin, Cap Anson, and Lipman Pike. The Buffalo Bisons joined the National League in 1879 and were one of the more stable franchises at the time, lasting seven years before finally disbanding. Led by Hall of Famer Pud Galvin, the 1879 Bisons were highly competitive and finished third in the National League ahead of Cap Anson’s Chicago White Stockings. These cards are not only rare, but historically significant as there are few surviving items related to the Buffalo Bisons, especially those dating from the club's inaugural National League season. The cards (4.25 x 6.5 inches) remain in outstanding condition, especially given their age. Aside from some very minor staining along the top border of one card, light pencil notations on the reverse of two cards, and a tiny white sticker affixed to the reverse of another card, each is in overall Excellent condition. This is an exceptionally rare collection dating from the earliest days of the National League. Total: 6 cards. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,231

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