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1868 The Atlantic Nine Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card - Newly Discovered Example!
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $82,950
Exceedingly rare Peck & Snyder trade card featuring the 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics. This card originates from an extraordinary new find of eight circa 1870 baseball-team cards that were included among 135 nineteenth-century CDVs and trade cards featuring various subjects. (All 135 cards in the find are featured in this auction in ten separate lots.) In our eyes, this is the highlight of the collection. The 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card has long been recognized as one of the most significant and greatest rarities of all nineteenth-century team cards. It has always been an essentially impossible-to-obtain "dream card" that, while known to exist, to the best of our knowledge has never come to auction. This the first 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card we have ever seen in person, let alone offered. The formal studio photograph captures nine members of the Brooklyn Atlantics posing together in uniform. All of the players are identified in print along the bottom border of the mount: Charlie Mills; George "The Charmer" Zettlein (misspelled "Zettlen" on the card), one of the top pitchers of the era; Dickey Pearce, the game's first great shortstop and the player credited with practically inventing the position; Joseph "Old Reliable" Start, one of the game's top hitters and a premier first baseman; Charlie Smith; Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson, so nicknamed for his defensive prowess; Fred Crane; Thomas Pratt; and John Chapman. Both the team name and year ("The Atlantic Nine, 1868") are lettered below the identifications. The reverse features advertising for Peck & Snyder ("Base Ball & Sportsmen's Emporium").
The Brooklyn Atlantics, established in 1855, were one of the most prominent and successful baseball clubs in New York during baseball's formative years. A charter member of the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857, the Atlantics are best known today for their historic win over the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1870. That victory, by a score of 8-7 in extra innings, marked the first defeat for the Red Stockings in over two years. Ironically, the last team that had beaten the Red Stockings, on October 1, 1868, was also the Atlantics. Many of the Atlantic players responsible for that victory over the Red Stockings in 1870 are pictured here, including Pearce, Ferguson, Start, Zettlein, Chapman, and Smith. After the 1869 season, the Atlantics joined the ranks of professionalism, but they declined to join the National Association (baseball's first professional league) during its inaugural 1871 campaign. Instead, the Atlantics waited a year and joined the league in 1872. They remained a member of the National Association during the remainder of its brief existence, but were not invited to join the National League in 1876. Without a league affiliation, the Atlantics continued to play an independent schedule for a number of years before disbanding in the 1880s.
The card (3.75 x 2.5 inches) has been trimmed but still offers extraordinary eye-appeal. (Trade cards, which were normally larger than CDVs, were often trimmed at the time so that they could fit into CDV albums. In fact, we have been able to locate images of only two other examples of 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics CDVs; both were similarly trimmed. The offered example may be the finest of the three.) The photographic contrast is somewhat lighter on the right, but is still extremely strong throughout. A few very tiny creases are evident in the lower left and right corners, as well as the right border (none affecting the photo). Without regard to the trimming, the card is in Very Good condition but presents as Excellent. As noted earlier, this example is new to the hobby and was just recently discovered by our consignor among 135 CDVs and trade cards left to her by her parents, who purchased them over twenty years ago at an antiques shop. (All of the additional baseball CDVs from the collection, as well as the remaining cards, are featured elsewhere in this auction.) This is a remarkable newly discovered example of one of the nineteenth century's most significant and elusive rarities. The 1868 Peck & Snyder Brooklyn Atlantic trade card also holds the distinction of being one of the earliest-known baseball cards. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $82,950
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