Extraordinary Collection 1886-1889 N172 Old Judge Tobacco Cards (398 cards) - All SGC-Graded!

Sold For: $82,250

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 53

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Additional images are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/37009821@N02/4482231928/in/photostream/ This outstanding collection of 398 different 1886-1889 N172 Old Judges represents one of the largest collections of these classic nineteenth-century cards ever assembled, let alone offered at auction at a single time as a collection. This is an extraordinary and carefully assembled collection, with all 398 cards different (some players are represented by more than one pose), all graded, and all in uncommonly high grade for Old Judges. An amazing 376 different players are included. There are only 521 different players known to exist in the entire Old Judge set. The 376 different number is players only, and does not include the twenty-two extra cards representing team changes (4) and different poses (18) in the collection. This is the only entirely graded large Old Judge collection we have ever offered. Old Judge collections of this size and quality just don't turn up. Collectors often see individual cards available, but the assembly of a collection including hundreds of different players has always been very rare. Old Judges, which were issued by Goodwin & Company from 1886 to 1890, are universally recognized as the premier nineteenth-century baseball-card set. They have always been appreciated for their great historical significance as the very first major baseball-card set. Old Judges rarely surface today in any quantity and the offering of even a few cards makes serious collectors take note. Cards are usually offered individually, and "commons" can bring prices which just a few short years ago would have been thought appropriate only for Hall of Famers. The 398 cards in this lot are an advanced collection unto themselves, and included are cards which will improve virtually any world-class Old Judge collection, of which there are few. The Old Judge set offers both the beginning and advanced collector a serious challenge. Any collection, large or small, is of great historical note. A large collection such as this captures an entire cross-section of players, almost all of which can be found in no other set, from one of baseball's most exciting eras. This uncommonly large collection of 398 cards includes seven Hall of Famers, numerous scarcities, portraits, rare teams, double-player cards, managers, horizontal cards, and rare poses. All the cards in this collection have been graded and encapsulated by SGC (except two PSA and one GAI). One card is graded NM+ 86, ten are graded NM 84, one is graded EX-MT+ 6.5 (GAI), eleven are graded EX/NM 80, twenty-four are graded EX+ 70, thirty-two are graded EX 60 (including one PSA EX 5), fifty-three are graded VG/EX 50, fifty-one are graded VG 40, 105 are graded GOOD 30, seventy are FAIR 20, thirty-four are graded POOR 10, and six are encapsulated as Authentic (including one PSA).

The following is a list of some of the many highlights:
seven Hall of Famers: Connor (bat at 60 degrees, GOOD 30), Ewing (hands on knees, EX+ 70, light image), Galvin (leaning on bat, VG 40), Hamilton (KC; hands neck high, FAIR 20), McCarthy (Phil.; hands chest high, EX 60), Thompson (bat at 45 degrees, VG/EX 50), Wright (looking right, GOOD 30, light image); three managers: Loftus (mgr. Cleveland, EX 60), Powell (mgr. Sioux City, GOOD 30), Williams (mgr. Cleveland, EX 60); various other noteworthy cards: Fessenden (umpire, GOOD 30), New York Mascot (FAIR 20), Whitney w/Dog (VG 40); seven portraits: Burdock (Bos., VG 40), Flint (Chi., EX 60), Geiss (Chi., VG 40), Irwin (Phil., POOR 10), Madden (Bos., VG 40), Myers (Wash., POOR 10), Wise (Bos., FAIR 20); four horizontal sliding poses: Gore (NY, FAIR 20), Griffin (Balt., NM 84), Mattimore (Phil., VG/EX 50), Van Dyke (Toledo, VG 40); six vertical sliding poses: Corkhill (Cinn., EX/NM 80), Davis (KC, Authentic), Dunlap (Pitt., EX 60), Knouff (St. Louis, VG 40), Sullivan (Phil., VG 40), Swartwood (Hamilton, VG 40); two tagging player poses: Barkley (KC, VG/EX 50), Burns (Chicago, VG/EX 50); and many, many more noteworthy cards (too many to list) .

Extremely important condition note:
The grades listed above do not begin to do justice to this collection in terms of condition. As collectors are well aware, minor condition flaws such as glue marks and notes on the back of cards "come with the territory" with Old Judges, and have little or no impact on their appearance, but have a dramatic impact on PSA- and SGC-assigned grades. The overall appearance of Old Judges, including contrast, is of primary concern to most collectors, and has been a primary focus in the assembly of this collection. While the technical grades of the cards in this collection are very respectable, they do not even begin to tell the story of the outstanding overall quality of this group. As noted below, images of the entire collection are posted online.

This is an amazing collection, not just because of the overall condition and the quantity of the cards included, but because of the attention to detail with reference to different players, and the incredible amount of time, energy, and effort that was obviously required for its assembly. This collection represents an extremely rare opportunity to acquire a very significant, comprehensive collection of Old Judges, which with focus would be very practical to add to in the future, in the march toward completion (though that ultimate goal may be impossible) of the most fascinating and desirable of all nineteenth-century issues: the N172 Old Judge set. Due to practical considerations, it is possible to illustrate only a small selection from this significant collection in our printed catalog, but we have provided images of all 398 cards on our website. There are so many striking cards and images, and so many variables to Old Judges with reference to photo quality and contrast, that by providing images of the entire collection online we feel we can most effectively communicate and document the quality of this extraordinary collection. A complete list of all 398 cards in the collection is also available, and can easily be sent by email (or fax) in a spread sheet upon request. Plus for the convenience of potential bidders high-resolution images of all the cards in this collection are available on a disc. Total: 398 cards. Reserve $50,000. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $82,250

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