1912 Boston Garter Advertising Display Sign with Fred Clarke and Frank Chance

Sold For: $24,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 683

Item Year: 1912

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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The 1912 Boston Garter set is universally regarded as one of the rarest and most beautiful card issues ever produced. Their great rarity is no doubt in part due to the fact that only one card was issued with each box of twelve garters. 1912 Boston Garters are quite unique in that each features a player in the dugout, without pants, in the midst of getting dressed, proudly displaying his Boston-brand garters. In the background are beautiful stadium scenes, featuring ballplayers warming up. Offered is an incredible Boston Garter cardboard advertising display sign, featuring illustrations of two of the large-format cabinet-style display cards in the set, Pittsburgh's Fred Clarke and Chicago's Frank Chance. The exquisite full-size images of the cards on the poster (each measuring 4 x 8.25 inches) are produced with the same unparalleled production quality as the cards themselves. It appears that the very same printing plates were used to produce both the card images on the poster and the actual cards. The fronts of each are literally indistinguishable from one another, making ownership of the poster tantamount to owning two 1912 Boston Garter cards, but with the bonus of additional advertising for the product presented within an attractive display format.

In addition to being one of the most beautiful and interesting sets ever produced, 1912 Boston Garters are also one of the rarest. In fact, as duly noted in the Standard Catalog, they are so rare that if it were not for the checklist which appears on the back of each card, we would not even know what players comprise the set, let alone that there are sixteen cards to the set (one player is represented from each team). Boston Garter advertising posters, not surprisingly, are even rarer than Boston Garter cards. We estimate that fewer than twenty-five examples of 1912 Boston Garter cards are known to exist in the entire collecting world. However, fewer than ten advertising posters are known to exist. (Note: The posters are not all of exactly the same design; the known posters include several different combinations of players.) On this extraordinary example, both Fred Clarke and Frank Chance are pictured in the clubhouse changing into their respective uniforms, both proudly displaying their Boston-brand Garters as they dress for the day's game. The unparalleled quality of the lithography and the unique concept of the set both contribute to making 1912 Boston Garters one of the most distinctive and noteworthy baseball-card sets ever issued.

The sign (21 x 11 inches), which is printed on heavy cardboard stock, has wear commensurate with its age and former use, most of which is relegated to the border areas. A one-inch horizontal tear extends from the right border slightly into the Chance "card." A smaller half-inch diagonal tear appears along the bottom border. A small number of minor creases are evident in the corners and along the edges, but the central image area is largely free of any significant flaws. Although technically in Very Good to Excellent condition, all of the colors remain bright and vibrant, and none of the flaws detract in the least from its overall spectacular Excellent appearance! This is a magnificent example of one of the hobby's finest baseball-card advertising display pieces featuring two prominent Hall of Fame players. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).

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