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Lot # 1207 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Rare Turn-of-the-Century Cuban-Baseball Periodical Collection (127), One Picturing Jose Mendez

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $7,110.00

Offered here is an exceedingly rare and unique collection of 127 circa 1900 Cuban baseball periodicals, comprised of the following titles: Habana, El Petit Habana, El Score, El Base Ball, and El Pitcher. These weekly publications, printed on newspaper stock, are similar in style and content to early American periodicals covering baseball, such as The Sporting News and Sporting Life. Because these publications are specific to baseball and were published weekly, most issues are only four to eight pages, but what they lack in volume, they more than make up for with their historical and photographic content. Nearly every issue features a photo of a prominent player(s), manager, or team executive(s) on the cover, while the interior pages record box scores and accounts of games played between the top professional teams in Cuba. Obviously, all of the periodicals are printed in Spanish, which limits our exact knowledge of the information they contain, but for Cuban-baseball collectors/historians, the value of this collection is incalculable, as much of the information can probably be found nowhere else. We have never seen any other Cuban baseball publications dating from the turn of the century, making this an extraordinarily rare historical archive. It should be noted that this collection was amassed over a period of decades by an extremely advanced and dedicated Cuban-baseball historian and is one of several Cuban/Mexican/Negro League lots that he has consigned to this auction, all of which are notable for the scarcity of the material therein. The collection consists of the following: Habana (six different issues, all dating from 1900). Two of the issues feature cover photos of Pepillo Romero and Rafael Rodriguez, respectively. El Petit Habana (fifteen different issues, fourteen dating from 1900 and one dating from 1901). Twelve of the issues feature cover photos, including those of Rafael Rodriguez, Emilio Hernandez, Roman Calzadilla, Javier Hernandez, Gustavo Gelabert, and Esteban Prats. El Score (sixty-four different issues; one dating from 1889, twenty-one dating from 1900, forty-one dating from 1901, and one dating from circa 1910). The issue dating from circa 1910 is comprised of just the cover, which features a full-length illustration of Hall of Fame pitcher Jose Mendez taken from The Sporting News, which refers to him as "Mendez, The Black Matty." The text identifies him by his Cuban nickname "Diamente Negro" (black diamond). Mendez was baseball's first great international star and a pitcher for whom John McGraw had only the highest of praise. Mendez later both played and managed in the Negro Leagues. In 1939 he was on of the first inductees into the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame and in 2006 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with a large contingent of former Negro League players. Nearly all of the El Score periodicals features a cover photo, including those those of Arturo Valdes, Jose Romero, Julio Lopez, Rogelio Valdes, Angel D'Meza, Armando Cabanas, Javier Hernandez, Francisco Ronquillo, and Candido Fontanas. El Base Ball (forty-one different issues; one dating from 1899, twenty dating from 1900, and twenty dating from 1901). Thirteen of the issues feature a cover photo, including those of Carlos Royer, Emilio Hernandez, Arturo Valdes, and Rafael Rodriguez. Many of the photos have been neatly hand-tinted by what appears to be colored pencil. El Pitcher (one issue, dating from 1887, featuring a photo of a woman baseball player on the cover). Accompanying the El Pitcher issue is a blank, generic baseball scorecard issued by El Pitcher. All of the publications measure approximately 9 x 12 inches, with the exception of a three El Petit Habana issues, which are smaller (5.75 x 8 inches). Nearly all of the periodicals were at one time bound into an album and have since been removed. As a result, nearly all display small holes along the left border, as well as edge tears that occurred during the removal. Also, the vast majority of the periodicals have tape reinforcement along the spine to hold the pages together. Other flaws include toning and light foxing, as well as a few border tears and chips. While technically in Good condition overall, the periodicals remain perfectly readable and nearly all display an overall Excellent appearance. While we have no idea how many copies of these papers remain today, we cannot imagine that there are more than a few copies extant for each, especially here in the United States. This is an extraordinary Cuban baseball periodical lot, the likes of which will probably never be seen again at public auction. Total: 127 periodicals and one scorecard. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).
SOLD FOR $7,110.00

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