1939 American Card Catalog by Jefferson Burdick Plus Rare 1939 Card Collectors Bulletin

Sold For: $5,400

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1085

Item Year: 1939

Category: 1930s to 1940s cards

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Robert Edward Auctions has always had a great reverence for hobby history, so it is a special honor for us to present these fascinating relics of card-collecting history in this auction. Offered is an extraordinarily rare 1939 first edition of the American Card Catalog by legendary card-collecting pioneer Jefferson R. Burdick along with a 1939 printing of The United States Card Collectors Bulletin. The latter is something that we have seen only once before. Its cover is similar to that of the ACC except it is printed on green stock and obviously bears a different title. As noted on the title page of the American Card Catalog, it was published precisely on June 1, 1939. While we have had other early editions (from the 1940s and 1950s), this is only the fifth time REA has ever had the privilege of offering the historic 1939 first edition of the American Card Catalog, which differs substantially in design and format from later editions (the first example we handled was offered in REA's Spring 2013 auction as Lot 485 and realized $4,740). In many ways this volume represents the birth of organized card collecting in America. Burdick is universally recognized as the "Father of Card Collecting." His American Card Catalog was the first serious attempt to document and categorize cards for collectors. It was the American Card Catalog that assigned to such sets as T206 and R319 the catalog reference numbers still in use today. It is interesting to note that this copy does not feature any paid advertisement pages in the back of catalog. The pages are present but are blank. Following the blank-pages of the advertising section are two sections of supplemental pages (dated 1940 and 1941). The Card Collectors Bulletin, which was also the brainchild of Burdick along with Charles Bray, was first issued in 1937, with the goal "to be of every possible service to the hobby." A total of thirty issues (#1-30, dating between 1939 and 1944) are housed inside this volume as Burdick produced each issue with punch holes to allow for easy storage within the same cover held in place by metal clasps. The original owners name "John D. Wagner" and address are penned inside the front cover. Burdick spent the last twenty years of his life organizing and mounting his vast collection in albums for permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He died in 1963, just months after completing this lifelong project, and his collection is among the most famous ones at the Met. The catalogs (6 x 9 inches) are complete with original covers and present in Good condition with technical faults visible on the covers and along the spine as well as natural wear to the fragile corners. Each book is housed in a custom-made folding solander case for optimum presentation. Total: 2 books.
Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open).

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