1870 Philadelphia Athletics BBC Team CDV with A. J. Reach - Newly Discovered Example!

Sold For: $3,555

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 27

Item Year: 1870

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

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Extremely rare team composite CDV featuring portraits of the 1870 Philadelphia Athletics. 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.) The 1870 Athletics were one of the top teams of the era before the formation of the National Association in 1871. The card features ten identified player portraits in ovals, including A. J. Reach (at 11:00). In addition to his later prominence as baseball executive and entrepreneur, Al Reach was one of the top players in the game in the 1860s and early 1870s, and is credited by many as being the first professional baseball player. Also featured on this team is Dickie McBride (center), perhaps the greatest pitcher of the National Association, Harry Schaefer, George Bechtel, Thomas Berry, Count Sensenderfer, Fergy Malone, Wes Fisler, Tom Pratt, and John Radcliff. This is, with few exceptions, the very same team that won the championship of the National Association in the 1871 inaugural season. The "universe" of CDVs featuring significant pre-1871 teams is very small, consisting of perhaps as few as ten different cards. The 1870 Athletics CDV is one of the few, and one of the most significant. Produced by photographer John L. Gihon of Philadelphia (812 Arch Street), with advertising on front and reverse in red. The card (2.25 x 3.75 inches) has a slight trim along all four borders but is otherwise in remarkable condition. The photo quality of the portraits is bold and flawless. Name identifications are all perfect and bold (though the type is very small, as made). There is a tiny area of surface wear in the upper left corner on the front and the year, "1870," is written in pencil on the reverse. Without regard to the trimming the card is in Excellent condition overall. As noted earlier, this piece 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 large group of remaining cards, including a separate lot of boxing CDVs, are featured elsewhere in this auction.) This is a significant new discovery of one of the most important team CDVs of the era, and one that would be a welcome addition to any advanced collection of nineteenth-century cards. It is also one of the very few cards ever produced featuring Al Reach as a player. Encapsulated and labeled "Authentic" by SGC. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,555

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