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Lot # 37 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1886 N167 Old Judge Tim Keefe

Starting Bid - $7,500.00, Sold For - $15,405.00

Rare and extremely desirable example of Hall of Famer Tim Keefe from the 1886 N167 Old Judge series. As detailed in the May 2013 article on N167 Old Judges in Old Cardboard magazine, while this set has always been identified as being issued early in 1886, it is very possible (in fact, we think a virtual certainty) that the N167 set actually dates from 1885. Few nineteenth-century cards compare in rarity or significance to N167 Old Judges. These cards represent the very first series of baseball cards ever issued by Old Judge and feature photogravure portraits based on photographs by Joseph Wood. In addition to their very distinctive look, they are also the only Old Judge series to feature advertising on the reverse. The thin stock on which N167s are printed makes them especially susceptible to tears and other damage. This particular example was one of two N167s that highlighted a small find of nineteenth-century nonsport cards held in the same family since the 1880s (the nonsport cards are offered elsewhere in this auction). The card is graded POOR 10 by SGC due to heavy creasing across the card, even rounding to the corners and minor edge wear along the nameplate at the bottom. The important image of Keefe, however, is largely undisturbed. The reverse, one of the most ornately designed of the era, is free of paper loss and displays only the previously mentioned creasing. As the first card of Keefe issued by Old Judge, this card would also, by definition, qualify as his rookie card for most collectors. In addition to their enormous significance as the very first tobacco baseball card set, N167 Old Judges have always been recognized as extremely rare. The numbers speak for themselves: Fewer than fifty examples (possibly fewer than forty, as we can actually account for fewer than that number) in total are known to exist (of all twelve players in the set combined) in the entire collecting world. This is an outstanding example of the legendary Tim Keefe from one of the most condition-sensitive, important, and rarest issues in all of card collecting. Reserve $7,500. Estimate (open).

SOLD FOR $15,405.00

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