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Circa 1890 "Brotherhood B.B.C." Cigar Box (Players' League)
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $1,303.50
This rare baseball cigar box is notable for its colorful interior and side labels, both of which feature the same attractive game-in-progress scene, above which is lettered "Brotherhood B. B. C." One can only assume that the "Brotherhood B. B. C." referenced here relates to the Brotherhood of Professional Baseball Players, an organization founded in 1885 by Montgomery Ward that culminated in the formation of the Players' League in 1890. This is the first example of this cigar box and label we have ever seen and its rarity is probably related to the Brotherhood's short existence. While the average attendance for Players' League games was better than those of both the National League and American Association, the Players' League owners did not have the fortitude to continue the battle against their more established rivals. The Players' League folded after just one season and this cigar box almost certainly dates to that very year (1890). Issued by the H. Traiser & Co., of Boston, Massachusetts, this cigar box (6.75 x 5.5 x 5.25 inches), which once contained the company's "Londres" cigars, is labeled "Brotherhood Base Ball Club" on the top of the lid. The interior lid features the colorful label produced by "Geo. Harris & Sons, Lith. Phila." One of the most interesting aspects of the label is that the fielder is sporting a "bib-front" jersey, the style common in the 1860s and 1870s. A smaller, exterior label (4 x 4 inches), featuring a partial image of the full label, appears on the left side of the box. The box displays heavy wear throughout, including a complete horizontal separation to the lid that was later glued back together (it does affect the interior label). The top lid is also completely detached from the box. With the exception of the repair, the interior label remains in Very Good condition overall, with a few minor edge tears and surface blemishes. The exterior label is in Good to Very Good condition. The box itself is in Fair to Good condition, with nearly all of the tax stamps torn and worn away. This is an exceptionally rare cigar box and, despite its flaws, extremely impressive visually, and one that would make an outstanding addition to any advanced nineteenth-century baseball or tobacciana collection. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000.
SOLD FOR $1,303.50
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