Nineteenth-Century Baseball Trade-Card Collection (64)

Sold For: $1,800

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 98

Item Year: 1888

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

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Collection of 64 nineteenth-century trade cards, each relating to baseball. Victorian-era baseball trade cards have long flown under the radar of most baseball collectors. This is in part because (with the exception of the Tobin series) they are generic, and also in part due to the lack of widely distributed printed reference materials about these rare, early advertising cards. While literally millions of trade cards featuring all topics were produced and distributed during the late 1800s, only a small percentage featured baseball images or themes. For that reason, baseball trade cards are very scarce. Of the 64 offered cards, 48 belong to known sets, with the remainder (16 cards) representing either titled or untitled cards. The various sets represented here (referred to by the catalog numbers originated by Jefferson Burdick in the American Card Catalog and then later added to by Frank Keetz in his definitive book Baseball Advertising Trade Cards, 1997) are as follows: H804-1A, “Baby Talk Series" (6 total, including 1 duplicate); H804-2A, "Vertical Brownie Series" (2 different); ; H804-3, "Buffords Series" (1); H804-4, "Capadura Cigar Series" (1); H804-5A, “Black Player Series” (1); H804-6, "Forbes Co. Series" (8 total; complete set of 6 plus 2 duplicates); H804-7 “Merchant’s Gargling Oil Series” (4 different); H804-8B, "Sporting Life Series" (3 different); H804-10, "Corner Clefs Series" (7 total; 5 different and 2 duplicates); H804-11, “Circled Position Series (2 different); H804-14, "Big White Shoes Series" (1); H804-15, “Red Border Position Series” (4 different); H804-17, “Bluish-Green Series” (2 different); H804-36, “W.D. Series” (4 total; 3 different and 1 duplicate); H804-38, “An Accurate Barometer Series” (complete set of two). Included among the remaining cards are a Sporting Life advertising card, two different "Base-Ball at Blackville" trade cards issued by Clarence Brooks & Co., and an Old Judge trade cards. Sizes vary, but many are approximately 3 x 4.5 inches. Approximately 50% of the cards appear to be slightly trimmed; otherwise the collection is in Very Good condition overall. Total: 64 trade cards. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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