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Lot # 104 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Pete Gillespie, NY's

Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $16,590.00

Graded EX+ 70 by SGC. Presented is an extraordinary portrait example of Pete Gillespie from the N690 Kalamazoo Bat series. This card is the finest known example of Gillespie, and in fact is one of the finest in terms of condition of all New York portrait (or even non-portrait) Kalamazoo Bats cards of any player. Of the 163 Kalamazoo Bats graded to date by SGC, only eight have ever been graded higher (six graded EX/NM 80 and two graded NM 84, one of which is offered in this auction). New York Giants and Mets player Kalamazoo Bats are among the rarest of all nineteenth-century cards. We estimate that fewer than fifty examples in total are known in the entire collecting world. The New York player Kalamazoo Bats all feature portraits and are considered by advanced collectors to actually be a set unto themselves, distinct from the rare but far more readily available Philadelphia Athletics series. In Lew Lipset's The Encyclopedia of Base Ball Cards Volume 1 - 19th Century Cards published in 1984, he speculates that the Kalamazoo Bats Mets and Giants players actually date to 1886 (as opposed to 1887), and an analysis of the known players (including checklist additions discovered since 1984) verifies that this is almost certainly the case. The offered example of New York's Pete Gillespie is in spectacular condition. It is crisp and clean, with a flawless portrait, superb contrast, four sharp corners, and a perfectly clean back. SGC has downgraded this card from an even higher grade only due to the light hints of scattered surface toning and the left-to-right centering as shown. This card has a particularly impressive and significant provenance. In 1987 a legendary small find of Kalamazoo Bats cards in Philadelphia included approximately ten New York players. Almost all of the few high-grade New York player Kalamazoo Bats cards known to exist originate from this single find. In addition to the excitement generated by the find due to the incredible rarity of the cards, several cards were never before even known to exist, and all were in virtually perfect condition. The offered card of Pete Gillespie was one of the New York Kalamazoo Bats cards from this legendary find. The card eventually found its way into the legendary Jim Copeland Collection, and in 1991 was sold as part of the famous Copeland Auction, which will always be regarded as one of the true landmark events in hobby history. This card last appeared at auction when it was offered at REA in May 2009, where it realized $19,975 (and may, of course, sell for more or less in this auction). This is an incredible example of this spectacularly rare and desirable nineteenth-century card. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $16,590.00

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