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Lot # 26 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1886 N167 Old Judge Buck Ewing

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $26,438

Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. Only two N167s of Buck Ewing have been graded by SGC. This is the highest-ever SGC-graded example with one other at the same level. Few nineteenth-century cards compare in rarity to N167 Old Judges. Fewer than fifty N167 Old Judges are known to exist in the entire collecting world. They are also of monumental significance. N167s are the first series of baseball cards ever issued by Goodwin. The thin stock on which N167s are printed makes them especially susceptible to tears and other damage. This is a very attractive example of Hall of Famer Buck Ewing from one of the rarest and most important of all nineteenth-century issues. Crisp and clean, with centering very slightly to the left, rounded corners, two creases near the corners, a very clean reverse, and with a boldly printed advertisement. It is a privilege for us to offer even a "common" player from the N167 Old Judge set, let alone a key Hall of Famer. We haven't had an N167 sample to offer since May 2006. This is a particularly fascinating example with reference to provenance. This card miraculously appeared on eBay in January 2006. At the time, the card was not graded and the seller was completely unknown, and this naturally caused some concern regarding authenticity. Communications with the seller by some interested bidders, however, revealed that the card came from the seller's father, James Lowe, who was a prominent collector long ago, and that the card very likely came from his best friend, legendary collector Walter Corson, a contemporary of Jefferson Burdick and one of the leading collectors in the earliest days of organized collecting. His collection was purchased by Frank Nagy for a then-unheard-of sum (for a baseball-card collection) of $6,000 in 1963. The story checked, confidence in the authenticity and legitimacy of the auction was justified, and the card sold on eBay for $25,000. The extremely advanced collector/dealer who purchased the card later changed his collecting focus, and in January 2008 put the card up for auction on the Buy-Sell-Trade section of the Net54 message boards, with special rules that allowed trade instead of cash. The card was hammered down at a reported value of $55,000, although this result was a combination of cash and similarly generously valued trade. REA is strictly cash, so that reported auction result is of somewhat limited value, but a combination cash/trade deal was made with that figure as a point of reference. This is an extraordinary card. The only other N167 Buck Ewing that we have offered in recent years was a PSA 4 Vg-Ex example which appeared as Lot #84 in REA's May 2005 sale, selling for $43,500. This is an outstanding Hall of Famer example of one of the most highly prized of all nineteenth-century baseball-card rarities. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000$20,000+. SOLD FOR $26,438

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