1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV with Peck & Snyder Advertising Reverse - Newly Discovered Example!

Sold For: $16,590

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 23

Item Year: 1869

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

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Graded POOR 10 by SGC. Extremely rare and exciting CDV-style trade card variety of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team, featuring advertising for Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods (22 Ann Street, New York) on the reverse. This is a particularly scarce and desirable variety and the first example we have ever offered with this rare and important advertising text. This card originates from an extraordinary new find of eight circa 1870 baseball team cards that were included among 135 nineteenth-century CDVs and trade cards featuring various subjects. (All 135 cards in the find are featured in this auction in ten separate lots.)

If we had to make a list of the ten most important baseball cards of all time, it would be impossible to not have the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Peck & Snyder trade card near the top of this short list. In addition to being one of card collecting's great rarities, it has a unique historical import as it features the very first professional baseball team: the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Led by Harry and George Wright, the Red Stockings toured the nation and went undefeated for ninety-two consecutive games. Because of their dominance, the team was a legend in its own day, though at the time, of course, no one could have imagined the impact they would have on the game. Just two years later the National Association, baseball's first all-professional league, was formed in large part because of the success of the Red Stockings. Shortly thereafter, in 1876, the National Association gave way to the National League and baseball officially became big business. By any definition, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Peck & Snyder card is one of the earliest of all baseball cards, and one of the few collecting icons representing the birth of both professional baseball and the "baseball card." As noted, the offered example, which is new to the hobby, is especially noteworthy for its extremely rare and significant reverse design, with Peck & Snyder advertising text text referencing the then just-published Haney's B.B. Book of Reference and inviting customers to send for the Peck & Snyder catalogue.

There are several different styles of 1869 Red Stockings team cards known, all featuring the same photograph but displaying slightly different mounts. The smaller CDV style has been found with several different backs, but most are blank-backed. The examples with advertising for Peck & Snyder (the leading retailer of baseball supplies at that time) are universally recognized as the most desirable of the several 1869 Red Stockings CDV card styles.

Further distinguishing this card is its remarkable condition compared to other known examples. It is especially important to note that the photo quality of 1869 Reds team cards is often very poor, and many times the contrast does not even allow for the reading of the "C" logos on players' shirts. The photo contrast on this example is outstanding, with all of the "C" logos on the uniforms clearly legible with the naked eye. Furthermore, the advertising reverse of this example is flawless, which of course is especially noteworthy for a card such as this where the advertising on the reverse has such great significance. The primary reason for the card's low technical grade by SGC is the fact that each player's name has been neatly written in pencil either above or below his respective image on the front mount, and the year, "1869," appears in pencil on the reverse. Aside from that, the card is in overall Excellent condition, with just modest wear to the corners and very light toning to the mount.

As noted earlier, this example is new to the hobby and was just recently discovered by our consignor among 135 CDVs and trade cards left to her by her parents, who purchased them over twenty years ago at an antiques shop. We estimate that fewer than ten CDV-sized examples of the 1869 Red Stockings team cards with advertising for Peck & Snyder on the reverse are known to exist. In fact, we have seen only one other 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV with this exact advertising text on the reverse and this is by far the better of the two. This example is in such outstanding condition, bright and clean, both front and back, with flawless advertising print on the reverse. This is an outstanding 1869 Cincinnati Reds CDV that would be an extremely important addition to any world-class historical baseball collection and a significant highlight in even the most advanced collection of nineteenth-century cards. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $16,590

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