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1908 Nat Strong Cuban Stars, Cuban Giants, Philadelphia Giants Negro League Promotional Material in Original Envelope
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $948
Exceedingly rare collection of Negro League promotional material issued by Nat Strong in 1908. Nat Strong, a white man, was one of the most important power brokers in Negro League baseball during the early 1900s. Based in New York, Strong served as an officer with both the Brooklyn Royal Giants and the New York Black Yankees; however, his true power was derived from his role as the East Coast booking agent for all of the clubs. No Negro League team could get booked in New York without Strong's consent, and he was dictatorial in his ways. Most club owners disliked him, mostly because of his demand of an extra ten-percent of every gate, on top of his standard ten-percent commission. In addition to his involvement in Negro League baseball, Strong also owned white semipro clubs, was a salesman for the Spalding Sporting Goods Company, and owned the World Building in New York City. He continued to rule New York black baseball with an iron fist until his death in 1934 at the age of sixty-one.
Offered here is a promotional packet sent to George Grebenstein, manager of the York Beach Base Ball Club (Maine), in 1908. The packet includes material relating to three of the top clubs booked by Strong (the Cuban Stars, the Philadelphia Giants, and the Cuban Giants), as well as a return envelope, and is comprised of the following: 1) Full-page paper flyer (9.5 x 12 inches) in promotion of the Cuban Giants. The flyer features a team photo of the club at the top and lists all of the club's officers, as well as the team's 1907 record. The bottom portion provides the club's standard booking terms. 2) Tri-fold paper flyer (9.5 x 6 inches) in promotion of the Cuban Stars. The center portion of the flyer provides information regarding the club's hotel arrangements, while each of the two outer panels picture, respectively, shortstop Luis Bustamante and pitcher Pedro Medina. 3) 5.5 x 3.25 card promoting "The World's Colored Champions/Philadelphia Giants." The text notes that "Last season this aggregation of base-ball stars, whose color is the only thing which keeps them out of the big leagues, played 145 games with best teams in the East, and of those they won 108, lost 31, and tied 6." 4) Return envelope (6 x 3.5 inches) bearing the preprinted return address "Nat C. Strong/46 World Building/New York City." Both the Cuban Giants and Cuban Stars flyers are folded, as issued; otherwise all of the items remain in Near Mint condition. Included is the original mailing envelope (6.5 x 3.75 inches) bearing Strong's preprinted company logo. Postmarked March 21, 1908 (Vg, with a number of minor tears, most of which are related to its original opening). This is an extremely rare and historically significant archive of promotional materials relating to Negro League baseball in the early part of the twentieth century. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $948
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