1912 Boston Garter Advertising Display Sign with Christy Mathewson and Ed Walsh - The ONLY Known Example!

Sold For: $51,000

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 905

Item Year: 1912

Category: Teens to 1920s cards

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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, New York's Christy Mathewson and Chicago's Ed Walsh. This is the only advertising display featuring the two Hall of Famers that we are aware exists! Furthermore, we have only ever seen two examples each of Mathewson and Walsh as individual Garter cards. 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.

As duly noted in the Standard Catalog, the 1912 Boston Garter set is 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 thirty 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 Christy Mathewson and Ed Walsh are pictured in their respective clubhouses, each 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. Nine tack holes of various sizes appear in the upper portion of the display, three of which appear within the lettering of "Boston" and four within the lettering of "Garter." A light diagonal crease is present in the upper right corner,and an approximate 1.5-inch vertical crease descends from the top border above the "s" in "Boston." Moderate edge and corner wear is also evident. However, all of the colors remain bright and vibrant, and both of the card images are Excellent to Mint in appearance. Although technically in Good condition because of the tack holes (all of which can be addressed by professional restoration), the aforementioned flaws in no way significantly detract from the piece's otherwise Excellent overall 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. From the Dan Gantt Collection. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).

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