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Outstanding Circa 1890 Stevengraph Baseball Silk "First Innings" with Rare Allen & Ginter Advertising Mount
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,666
While many collectors are familiar with the classic nineteenth-century Stevengraph silk titled "First Innings," they have rarely, if ever, encountered it displayed in the manner offered here: housed in an Allen & Ginter advertising mount. This is only the second example of a Stevengraph "First Innings" silk in an Allen & Ginter advertising mount we have ever seen and the first one we have ever handled (they are normally found in a Stevengraph mount bearing the title of the piece on the front and advertising for other Stevengraph silks on the reverse). The central display, executed in a tapestry of woven silk, features a game-in-progress scene that encompasses the field of play and grandstand area as well. The medium of silk weaving allows for extraordinary detail and brilliant color. As noted earlier, the silk (6 x 2 inches) was produced by Stevengraph Works, the preeminent woven silk manufacturers of the era. This is one of a small series of display silks with a sporting theme produced by Stevengraph in the early 1890s. As the only Stevengraph silk ever produced relating to baseball, "First Innings" has always been highly prized by both Stevengraph and baseball collectors. The large, cabinet card-style mount (9 x 6.75 inches) advertises for Allen & Ginter's "Richmond Straight Cut Cigarettes, with the text along the base extolling the cigarette's virtues: "Made from the Most Delicate Flavored and Highest Cost Gold Leaf Tobacco Grown in Virginia." The reverse label warns consumers not to be fooled by other company's offerings of "Straight Cut" cigarettes. The silk remains in Near Mint condition, with all of the colors bright and vibrant. The front of the mount displays a tiny, affixed newspaper or magazine clipping, reading "A Base-Ball Match/The First Innings," while a large portion of the top-border lettering has benefitted from professional restoration. Tape residue is evident along all of the reverse borders. In Very Good condition overall. This is an extremely rare variation of this nineteenth-century classic and one that will have special appeal to tobacco collectors. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,666
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