Exceptional 1888 N162 Goodwin Champions Complete Set (50) Including SGC NM+ 86 Cap Anson and NM 84 Beecher: #1 SGC Set Registry!

Sold For: $96,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 88

Item Year: 1888

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

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Considered by many to be the most beautiful of all nineteenth-century tobacco-card issues, the N162 Goodwin Champions set has cemented its place as one of the premier baseball-card sets ever produced from any era. When advanced collectors discuss their favorite cards and sets of all time, the rarity and beauty of N162s usually puts the issue, and individual cards from it, near the top of any list. Presented here is one of the finest complete sets ever assembled of this extremely popular and desirable series. Each card is professionally graded and encapsulated by SGC, and the complete set ranks first overall on the SGC Set Registry. An incredible twenty-three cards are the highest-graded examples, including the two key cards to the set: baseball Hall of Famer Cap Anson and the first football card ever issued, featuring Harry Beecher, both of which also have the distinction of being the only examples graded at their respective levels by SGC. Comprised of fifty different champions and stars from a wide variety of sports of the day, the set is notable for its inclusion of eight baseball stars, including Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers, Tim Keefe, and King Kelly in addition to the aforementioned Anson. Each card features a beautiful, full-color litographed depiction of the sports figure, with his name (and in some instances sport and position) printed on front. Advertising for Old Judge and Gypsy Queen Cigarettes appears in a strip at the bottom of each card. The reverse features a checklist for the fifty-card set underneath the heading "Champions" and above a Goodwin & Co. advertisement.

SGC Grading Composite: NM/MT 88 (1 card): Beach (pop one, highest graded). NM+ 86 (3 cards): Anson (baseball, HOF, pop one, highest graded), Glasscock (baseball, pop one, highest graded), and Schaefer (pop one, highest graded). NM 84 (6 cards): Beecher (football, pop one, highest graded), Dempsey (one higher), D'Oro (pop one, highest graded), Prince (pop one, highest graded), Slosson (pop one, highest graded), and Rowe (pop one, highest graded). EX/NM+ 82 (1 card): Rowell. EX/NM 80 (16 cards): Acton (highest graded), Andrews (baseball, one higher), Beeckman (highest graded), Bogardus, Gaudaur (highest graded), Keefe (baseball, HOF, one higher), Kelly (baseball, HOF, one higher), Mackenzie, McLaughlin (highest graded), Mitchell, Muldoon (pop one, highest graded), Murphy (pop one, highest graded), Ross (pop one, highest graded), Sears (pop one, highest graded), Stevens (highest graded), and Vignaux (pop one, highest graded). EX+ 70 (5 cards): Albert, Page, Sexton, Steinitz (highest graded), and Teemer (highest graded). EX 60 (13 cards): Buffalo Bill (pop one, highest graded), Brouthers (baseball, HOF), Carrison, Dunlap (baseball), Dwight, Fitzgerald, Hanlan, Kilrain, Myers, Voss (highest graded), Wood (bicyclist), C. Wood (jockey), and Zukertort. VG/EX 50 (5 cards): Caruthers (baseball), Daly, Smith, Sullivan, and Taylor.

As would be expected from the impressive grades and the offered set's status as the finest SGC-graded set ever assembled, each card is bright, crisp, and clean, with bold colors and tremendous overall display value. Even the lesser-graded examples in the set (of which there are not many) present at a level superior to their assigned grades (as is common with nineteenth-century cards). Of special note is the fact that all cards in this set are free of the pinpoint paper loss that so often plagues cards from this issue, which were often housed in albums. This flaw is sometimes tolerated or overlooked by other grading companies, and cards with this pinpoint paper loss can be found in high-grade holders. This is not the case with SGC, which does not allow this flaw in cards of the offered grades, making this set even more impressive and desirable in our eyes! Complete N162 sets in any grade are extremely rare, and we have not offered one within the last fifteen years! A set of this caliber does not just come together by chance; it has to be collected, over a period of many years, by a collector committed to all condition factors. It would be extremely difficult, in our opinion, to replicate this set with the degree of consistency and quality that it presents. That is precisely the reason why we have agreed with our consignor to offer it intact. This may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such a remarkable, world-class complete set of this popular and attractive issue, which would be a worthy addition to even the most advanced collection. Total: 50 cards. Reserve $50,000. Estimate (open).

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