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1948-1949 Puerto Rican League Don Q Rum Advertising-Calendar Display with Hilton Smith and Willard Brown
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $830
Impressive promotional-calendar display issued by Don Q Rum for the 1948-1949 Puerto Rican League season. This extremely large (20.5 x 28.5 inches) and colorful display piece features team photos of the 1947-1948 Caguas-Guayama and Mayaguez baseball clubs, champions and sub champions, respectively, of the 1947-1948 Puerto Rican League, as well as fifteen individual portrait photos of the league's top players: Hilton Smith, Willard Brown, Chet Brewer, Ruben Gomez, Ford Smith, Vincente Villafane, Francisco Coimbre, Juan Sanchez, Alonso Perry, Charley Glock, Fernando Diaz, Eugene Smith, Johnny Davis, Gilberto "Foca" Valentin, and Royce Lint. A short recap of each player's accomplishments in the previous year is printed next to his respective photo. Of special note to card collectors is the fact that the portrait image of Hilton Smith used here is exactly the same as that on his 1948-1949 Tolteros rookie card. The top portion of the piece lists the league's former champions and provides team statistics from the previous season. The lower half provides a large tear-away calendar for the season, with November 1948 as the first month displayed. A large Don Q company logo is featured prominently in the center of the display. All of the text on the calendar is in Spanish, with the top lettering reading "Obsequio De Don Q" ("Gift of Don Q"). Pitcher Hilton Smith and outfielder Willard Brown, both of whom were at the tailend of their careers in 1948, were two of the top Negro League players of their era. Brown, who is considered to be one of the greatest sluggers in Negro League history, is also the first African American player to hit a home run in the American League, a feat he accomplished in 1947 during his short stint with the St. Louis Browns. Smith was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001 and Brown in 2006. It should be noted that while the Puerto Rican League enjoyed a long and storied history, display pieces such as this are practically nonexistent. This is the first example of this rare calendar display we have ever seen and we cannot imagine that more than just a few, if any, others have survived. The display, which appears to be printed on heavy paper stock, is complete with both its top and bottom runners. The names of some of the players pictured in the two team photos have been neatly scripted in brown ink either above or below their respective images. A number of minor creases are evident, as are a few small, tiny areas of light discoloration along the base. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Mounted and framed to total dimensions of 30.5 x 39 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $830
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