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Extraordinary 1894 Baltimore Orioles "Champions of the World" Team Composite Ribbon Pendant - Finest Example Known!
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $4,444
It is rare for us to refer to a celluloid item as the finest known, but we cannot imagine that a finer example of this extraordinary keepsake exists. Offered here is what we believe to be the finest example in existence of what is universally recognized as one of the premier nineteenth-century pinbacks ever issued: the rare team-composite ribbon pendant featuring sixteen members of the 1894 National League Champion Baltimore Orioles. The ornate design features a rectangular pin from which hangs an orange and brown ribbon. Attached to the ribbon is a dual-sided celluloid display piece that features a convex front and flat reverse. Pictured on the front, in formal attire, are portrait photos of the following sixteen members of the 1894 Baltimore Orioles: manager Ned Hanlon, John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Dan Brouthers, Wilbert Robinson, Kid Gleason, Steve Brodie, Boileryard Clarke, Joe Kelley, Heinie Reitz, Sadie McMahon, Bill Hawke, Duke Esper, George Hemming, and Frank Bonner. Each player is identified in print next to his image. Additional lettering on the front, all of which is perfectly legible, reads "Baltimore/B.B.C./1894." The reverse features an illustration of Baltimore's famous "Battle Monument," and the lettering "Baltimore B.B.C./1894/Champions of the World." The manufacturer's name and the copyright date also appear on the reverse ("Torsch & Lee. Balto. Pat. Jan. 30. 1894."). 1894 marked the first of three consecutive National League pennants for the legendary Baltimore Orioles, considered by many to be one of the greatest nineteenth-century teams of all time. The Orioles were characterized by strong hitting and outstanding defense, not to mention their complete disdain for the rules. Included among their more favored illegal tactics were knocking their opponents down as they circled the bases, hiding baseballs in the high outfield grass, cutting corners as they rounded the bases, and handing out mirrors to their fans to reflect sunlight into the eyes of opposing batters and fielders. Despite that "unique" brand of ball, the Orioles' talent was obvious; no fewer than six members were later elected to the Hall of Fame. This is a very attractive piece, ideal for display, commemorating the club's first ever pennant-winning season. It should be emphasized that this piece is almost always found with condition flaws, usually serious, including fading to the printed names on the front. The offered piece is a true condition miracle and appears almost exactly as it did when first issued nearly 125 years ago. Aside from some very minor adhesive residue on the back of the ribbon, the piece is in remarkable Near Mint condition, and easily the finest example of this pendant we have ever seen, let alone handled. Pendant diameter: 1.75 inches. Total length: 3.75 inches. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,444
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