1895 N566 Newsboy Tobacco Cabinet Card Complete Set (14) Including Amos Rusie, Two John Ward, and George Van Haltren with Unique Advertising Reverse

Sold For: $30,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 93

Item Year: 1895

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

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Presented is an incredible complete set of all fourteen baseball players in the 1895 N566 Newsboy Tobacco cabinet-card set. This is the first complete set of Newsboy cabinets that we can recall seeing offered at public auction in at least the last twenty-five years! Newsboy cabinet cards were issued by the National Tobacco Works of New York City to promote its Newsboy Tobacco brand. Newsboys are extremely rare and one of the very few baseball-card sets issued during the 1890s. While similar in construction to N173 Old Judge cabinet cards, they are actually much rarer, all the more so in high grade as the mounts on Newsboy cabinets are not as thick and sturdy as Old Judge cabinets, and thus are also far more susceptible to damage. It is at least in part because of their greater rarity that Newsboys have not garnered the attention that Old Judges have received in recent years. There are only fourteen different baseball players currently known in the Newsboy set. Each is numbered and most are members of the 1894 New York Giants championship team. The keys to the set are the three cards featuring Hall of Famers Amos Rusie and John Ward (two poses). The complete set consists of the following: #174 Murphy (erased writing on back, otherwise Vg), 175 Rusie (HOF, Vg+), 176 Tiernan (Vg-Ex), 177 Burke (Vg), 178 Doyle (Vg), 179 Fuller (Gd), 180 Van Haltren (Keystone Cigars back, Ex), 181 Foutz (Vg-Ex), 182 Meekin (pencil on back, otherwise Gd+), 183 Griffin (pencil on back, otherwise Gd), 201 Clarke (Vg+), 202 Wilson (Gd), 586 Ward/arms folded (HOF, presents Vg-Ex, but grades more modestly due to a small spot of paper loss on the front as well as a few spots on the reverse), and 587 Ward/bat at side (HOF, Gd+). All the cards possess superb photographs, with outstanding clarity and crisp focus. The Van Haltren example is especially notable as well for its overprint advertisement on the reverse promoting Keystone Cigars of Poughkeepsie, New York. In the 1880s, merchants often ordered cards that could be customized with overprints to use them most effectively as advertising vehicles for their establishments. This was a most common practice with trade cards, but occasionally cabinet cards were also used in this manner. That Keystone Cigars used a N566 Newsboy card, produced by the National Tobacco Works of New York City to promote their Newsboy Tobacco brand, is particularly amazing. This is one of only a handful of overprinted Newsboy cabinets we have ever seen (and we've seen more overprinted on the front of the card, directly on the mount, than we have on the normally blank reverse). This is a tremendous complete set of Newsboys, the largest assembly of cards from this set we can ever recall offering, in various grades but including many particularly strong cards, almost all of which have an appearance significantly stronger than suggested by their technically-accurate assigned grades (as is often the case with nineteeth-century photographic cards). An outstanding, potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire a complete N566 set, worthy of even the most advanced collection! Total: 14 cards. Reserve $25,000. Estimate (open).

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