Rare Peck & Snyder trade card featuring the infamous 1870 New York Mutuals. 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. The formal studio photograph pictures nine members of the New York Mutuals, one of the most prominent teams of the era, posing together in uniform. All of the players are identified in green lettering along the base of the mount. This is one of a series of extremely rare trade cards issued by Peck & Snyder featuring photographs of baseball teams on the front and advertising for Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods Emporium on the reverse. The Mutuals are one of five teams featured on Peck & Snyder trade cards between the years 1868 and 1870. The others are the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the Brooklyn Atlantics, the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Chicago White Stockings.
The Mutuals were New York's strongest team of the late 1860s. They were also the most notorious. The Mutuals, along with several other NABBP clubs, openly turned professional during 1869-70, and played in the first professional league, the National Association, for its entire short duration (1871 to 1875). Unfortunately, the club, also known as the Green Stockings, was financed by "Boss" Tweed of Tammany Hall fame, and was well known as one of the most corrupt baseball teams of the nineteenth century. It has been said that the final results of more of their losses had been fixed by gamblers than not. This team was symbolic of the epidemic of corruption at the highest level of play throughout much of the 1860s. The players on the Mutuals were, however, extremely accomplished, and could give any team in America a run for its money. If they wanted to. The players identified here are center fielder Dave Eggler, the top player on the club, Nelson ("3d B"), Martin ("R.F."), Swandell ("2d B"), E. Mills ("1st B"), Hatfield ("S.S."), C. Mills ("C"), Wolters ("P"), and Patterson ("L.F."). The reverse features green-ink advertising for Peck & Snyder. (We believe that Peck & Snyder's use of green ink for printing on the front and back was intentional and in tribute to the team's formal name - The Green Stockings.) Although this card was originally issued or sold by Peck & Snyder, it was later resold by another merchant as evidenced by a paper label affixed to the reverse that reads "Celebrities/For the Album/E. Lovejoy/87 So. Clark St./Chicago." A tiny portion of an additional paper overlay is evident along the top border of the reverse. Two vintage pencil notations, reading "The Mutual BBC of N. Y." and "1870," respectively, appear on the reverse as well.
Prior to the discovery of this card, we knew of the existence of only four examples of the 1870 Mutuals Peck & Snyder trade cards, two of which were trimmed. The offered example (3.5 x 2.5 inches) is also trimmed, but exhibits exceptional visual appeal. (Trade cards, which were normally larger than CDVs, were often trimmed at the time so that they could fit into CDV albums.) The contrast displayed by the photo is light, but one can still easily discern the outline of the bib-style fronts of each jersey. The player names are all clearly legible on the mount; the text reading "The Mutual (Green Stockings) B.B. Club of New York" is no longer present. A tiny crease is evident in the lower right corner. Without regard to the trimming the card presents as Excellent. It should be pointed out that the two untrimmed examples of this card of which we are aware are not likely to ever be available: The first example resides in the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown while the other is currently in an advanced private collection of nineteenth-century baseball memorabilia, where it will most likely remain for quite some time. 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. (All of the additional baseball CDVs and trade cards, as well as the remaining cards, are featured elsewhere in this auction.) New discoveries of the circa 1870 baseball team cards are few and far between. This is an extremely significant and desirable newly-discovered example of the 1870 New York Mutuals Peck & Snyder advertising trade card, one of the rarest and most significant of all early baseball cards. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,295
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