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Lot # 336 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1911 M116 Sporting Life Proof Collection (65) Including Walter Johnson

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $5,332.50

Collection of sixty-five different "proof" cards from the M116 Sporting Life set. To the best of our knowledge, each of these M116 proof cards is unique. When these unusual M116 proof cards were purchased as a collection by our consignor years ago, no information about their history accompanied, but it is obvious that if their history could be traced, we would find that they originate from someone involved with the production or printing process. The M116 card set was issued by Sporting Life ("The Paper That Made Baseball Popular"), and by any measure is one of the most important sets of the era. Sporting Life was no doubt encouraged by the success of the popular tobacco cards of the day, and this issue shares a similar design with the tobacco cards of the era. Sporting Life was a major competitor of The Sporting News in the early part of the twentieth century. The Sporting Life set was issued in twenty-four series of twelve cards each, sold by mail for four cents per series. This group contains over one-quarter of the set in "proof" form, with each card missing several key elements of the finished product, namely the player and team identifications on the front and the Sporting Life advertisement on the reverse. In place of the advertisement on the reverse of each card is a pen or pencil notation identifying the player and team depicted (Phillippe has been incorrectly identified as Clarke). All of the cards are hand-cut and some have uneven edges and noticeable size variations. In addition, these proof cards are printed on thinner card stock than normal M116 cards. Twenty-two cards have a nearly identically placed pinhole which may have originated from display on a proofing board during the production process. It is very possible that these cards are early stage production proofs, but the possibility does also exist that they originated from an advertising sheet or poster of some kind that has never been seen and have been cut down to their current sizes. (We don't believe that to be the case as the names and team identifications of the players are completely absent on the fronts, strongly suggesting that these are proof cards utilized by the printer in the production of the set). Either way, they are fascinating representations from this classic and popular set. The collection consists of the following: Ames, Archer, Arrelanes, Beaumont, Bergen, Berger, Bescher, Bradley, Bransfield, Bresnahan (HOF, blue), Bridwell, M. Brown (HOF, blue), Coombs, Coveleskie, Crawford (HOF), Dahlen, Delehanty, Demmitt, Donovan (blue), Doolan, Dougherty, Elberfeld, Fletcher, Gessler, Gibson (blue), Griffith (HOF), Hartsel, Hartzell, Hoffman, Hulswitt, Johnson (HOF), Jones (blue), Jordan (blue), Killifer, Kling, Leach (blue), Lennox, B. Lord, H. Lord (blue), Lush, Magee, McIntyre, McLean, D. Miller, W. Miller, M. Mitchell, Moran, Murphy, Murray, Pelty, Pernoll, Phillippe, Sharpe, Sheckard, C. Smith, Steinfeldt, Stone, B. Sweeney, Tenney (blue), Thomas (blue), Thoney, Titus, Turner, He. Wagner, and Wilson. M116s are one of the most significant and substantial issues of the era, and are considerably scarcer than their tobacco-card counterparts. Interest in printing and production anomalies from within tobacco-card sets, as well as proof cards that are known (most notably cards from the T206 and T3 proof find of the 1970s), has dramatically increased in recent years, making this unusual lot potentially all the more desirable in the modern collecting era. Total: 65 cards. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,332.50

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