1889 A35 Goodwin Round Album

Sold For: $3,900

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 92

Item Year: 1889

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

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The "Goodwin Round Album," as it is known in collecting circles, was available only by mail in exchange for coupons packed with Goodwin Tobacco. Presented is a complete set of the nine album pages featuring players, plus the advertising page and the front cover. This album is missing only the back cover and the metal clasp (which held the album together). Four pages each feature a single beautiful full-color portrait (Cap Anson, Charles Comiskey, “King” Kelly, and John Ward). Five pages picture four players each, including Hall of Famers Mickey Welch, Tim Keefe, Roger Connor, John Ward, and Jim O'Rourke, in full-length poses. The reverse of each page contains player records and game schedules printed in blue. The outstanding graphics and its extreme rarity make it one of the premier nineteenth-century printed baseball items, and the most desirable of all pre-1900 tobacco premium albums. Technically this is a low-grade album with each page displaying three pieces of tape along the edges on the reverse. The tape is in the same place on each page, which leads us to believe this was done long ago to mount the pages for display. Aside from the aforementioned flaw, each page displays beautifully from the front with vibrant colors and a crisp image. Five of the pages (Anson, Kelly, and three multiplayer pages) have a couple very light creases or wrinkles. The multiplayer page with Ewing/Keefe/Ward/Welch has a piece missing at the binding hole and some faint staining. The advertising page has a tiny chip missing out of the edge near the binding hole. The front cover is seriously damaged and is missing a large portion (approx. 15% of the cover is torn off). The Round Album has always been highly valued in any condition. Even back in the 1930s, Jefferson Burdick assigned a value of $10 to the Round Album, reflecting its status as one of the hobby’s most valuable items. This was back when a T206 Wagner was listed at a then incredible $50. The values of most nineteenth-century baseball tobacco issues have soared over the past ten years. It is interesting to note that the Round Album, based on criteria as varied as rarity, beauty, players represented, and how incredibly substantial it is, now represents in the opinion of many serious collectors a tremendous value compared to other nineteenth-century baseball tobacco issues. This may be in part because they are so rarely offered in near-perfect condition. When Round Albums do surface, as is the case here, they usually have various condition problems (especially clasp-related tears); in addition, grading companies do not yet grade album pages due to their size (8 inches in diameter). This is a fine representative example of one of the hobby’s premier nineteenth-century tobacco issues, offering an exceptional alternative to a higher-grade and much more expensive example, without compromising on most of the great qualities that make this such a significant and extraordinary item. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$3,000+.

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