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1945 Pittsburgh Crawfords Advertising Trade Card with Willie Rowe
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $296
Extremely rare and interesting Negro League advertising trade card issued in promotion of Gus Greenlee's Pittsburgh Crawfords baseball team in 1945. Encapsulated and graded VG-EX 50 by SGC. The front of the card, which is titled "Know Your Crawfords," features a photo of Crawfords pitcher Willie "Schoolboy" Rowe and describes him as "Right Hand Drop/Ball Pitcher/Enjoying Best Season/Good Hitter." The left-hand side of the reverse features a preprinted invitation to come out see Greenlee's Pittsburgh Crawfords in action at Parkway Field in Louisville, while an applied paper label heralds a doubleheader between the Crawfords and the Phiadelphia Hilldales on August 19th. The right side of the reverse features lines for an address and a square box for the placement of a stamp. Produced by Allied Printing. Gus Greenlee was an extremely important figure in Negro League baseball. A reputed bootlegger with extensive gambling interests, he was also the owner of the the Pittsburgh Crawfords baseball team, and was instrumental in promoting the game. He founded the Negro National League in 1933 (for which he served as president for five years) and is credited with organizing the annual East-West Classic in 1933, in addition to assembling some of the greatest teams to ever take the field. Although SGC dates this card as "1930s," Rowe only played with the Crawfords in 1945, thereby conclusively pinpointing its year of issue. This is one of only three known examples of this rare Crawfords trade card, all of which feature Rowe. The three trade cards surfaced five years ago as part of the personal family collection of Negro Leaguer J. Leonard Mitchell. All three cards were graded by SGC and subsequently offered at public auction in 2009. The offered card represents the highest-graded example of the three (the other two were graded VG 40 and GD 30, respectively). The card (4 x 6.25 inches), printed on thin cardboard stock, displays only minimal handling wear, including a tiny tear along the top border. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $296
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