Presented is a beautiful nineteenth-century imperial cabinet card featuring two women ballplayers posing in uniform, issued as a premium by the Allen & Ginter tobacco company. The formal studio photograph captures one woman in a batting pose, holding a bat, while the other woman assumes the position of catcher. "Virginia Brights Cigarettes" is lettered in white along the top border of the photo. The lettering along the base of the mount is only partially legible due to wear and staining, but one can plainly see that part of the text included "Virginia Brights Cigarettes." (Virginia Brights was a very early Allen & Ginter cigarette brand.) This is one in a series of Virginia Brights imperial advertising cabinets issued by Allen & Ginter during the mid-1880s, all of which featured women ballplayers, but it remains the only example of this particular cabinet we have seen. The cabinet (7.5 x 13 inches) displays moderate staining, mainly along the base of the mount, minor chipping along both the edges of the photo and mount, and a tiny tack hole along the right border. In Very Good condition overall. This is a fascinating and scarce cabinet photo featuring women playing the game of baseball during the nineteenth century. These cabinet cards are somewhat modest in value compared to cabinets of Major Leaguers from this era, but are actually considerably rarer than most other pre-1900 baseball-related cards. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).
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