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Lot # 24 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1887 N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Philadelphia BBC Team Cabinet with Harry Wright

Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $15,275

Presented is an extraordinary example of one of the rarest and greatest prizes of all nineteenth-century card collecting: an 1887 N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats team cabinet card of the Philadelphia Nationals, featuring the "Grand Old Man" of the game, the legendary Harry Wright, surrounded by twelve Philadelphia players. We can count on one hand the number of Kalamazoo Bats team cabinet cards we have seen over the past forty years! They are virtually nonexistent! This is the first and only Kalamazoo Bats team cabinet-card example we have ever offered, and the first and only Philadelphia Nationals example we have ever seen. With reference to Kalamazoo Bats as an issue, it is also arguably the most significant of all the teams in the set (five different are known), as it is the Philadelphia players that provide the foundation of the individual player N690 Kalamazoo Bats set; and of the Philadelphia individual player Kalamazoo Bats cards, Harry Wright is the key Hall of Famer. Kalamazoo Bats cabinet cards are known to exist in two styles: 1) with no advertising on the mount, but with a small embossed "Chas. Gross & Co." stamp on the surface of the photograph (it is possible that these are proof cards of some type), and 2) with gilt-lettered advertising that prominently reads "Smoke Kalamazoo Bats" on the mount. The style with advertising (as is the case here) is a huge version of a smaller Kalamazoo bats team card, but with a black mount, and is by far the more desirable style. Though Kalamazoo Bats are among the rarest of all nineteenth-century baseball cards, it is unknown exactly how they were issued. It is likely that they were issued by mail, perhaps in exchange for coupons, as this was the case for many other premiums available from Kalamazoo Bats and other tobacco companies in this era. Kalamazoo Bats are particularly noted for the distinctive style and quality of their images. Though the contrast on this example is a little light, it is an extremely attractive card that still provides great detail. The card has been harshly graded FAIR 20 by SGC due to having the date notation "1887" written in black ink along the bottom right of the photo. It is otherwise in Very Good to Excellent condition, with no major creases, and very little wear on the corners and edges (the corners are naturally rounded as made). The blank reverse has some light soiling and foxing. This is an extraordinary Kalamazoo Bats team-card example and one of the nineteenth century's rarest tobacco advertising cards. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++. SOLD FOR $15,275

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