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Circa 1890 R. T. S. Artistic Series Die-Cuts Salesman Sample Book with Complete Uncut Sheet of Baseball Plus Other Sports (1,489 Cards in 76 Sheets)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,896
Unique, never-before-seen, extremely substantial Rafael Tuck & Son ("R. T. S.") 1890 salesman's sample book with contents highlighted by a full, uncut sheet (twenty die-cut cards total) of the company's baseball die-cut figures, which are listed in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards as "1888 Rafael Tuck & Sons Artistic Series Baseball." Prior to the discovery of this book, we had never seen a complete, uncut sheet of the R. T. S. baseball die-cuts before, which is comprised of two identical sets of ten cards. However, the Standard Catalog does describe them as having been issued in this manner, and we are pleased to confirm that information. The baseball sheet, which is listed as number "177" in the company's inventory line, is affixed to its respective album page, and the two sets of ten identical cards have separated along the center divide. Otherwise, the cards remain in pristine Near Mint to Mint condition. Also displayed within the book are the additional sport-themed cards produced by the company, which include complete uncut sheets of rugby/football (two sets of eight cards each), boxing (two sets of seven cards each), badminton (two sets of seven cards each), cricket (two sets of six cards each), fencing (two sets of seven cards each), athletics (two sets of eight cards each, including various track and field events), jockey (two sets of eight cards each), and horse racing (two sets of five cards each). Incredibly, these are just the beginning of the sets represented in this comprehensive 1890 salesman sample book. Pristine die-cut card examples (most in set form) of additional subjects, including flowers, animals, birds, insects, trees, fruit, ships, images of boys and girls, illustrated fairy tales, various images of Santa Clause, and numerous occupations are also featured throughout the book's forty pages. A total of 1,489 die-cuts, representing seventy-six different issues (all in original sheet form), are featured in this album, with individual cards ranging in size from .5 x .5 inches to 5 x 12 inches. This incredible selection of cards presumably represents the entire line of die-cuts produced by the company in 1890. All of the die-cuts in this salesman's album were intended for use in the decorating of scrapbooks, which was a highly popular pastime in the nineteenth century. This is the ultimate R. T. S. die-cut collection, and one that will appeal to both sport and nonsport collectors. Like the baseball series, all of the die-cut sheets are affixed to their respective album pages (they can all no doubt be professionally removed if desired) and are in Near Mint to Mint condition. Because we are unfamiliar with many of the nonsport die-cuts, we are hesitant to state how many rarities are contained in this album, but we would not be surprised to learn that it contains a number of new discoveries. This is a most extraordinary treasure trove of R. T. S. die-cuts, the likes of which we will probably never see again. The hardcover album (11 x 16.5 inches) is titled "The Marvel of Season 1890/The 'Giant' 5 Cent Relief Series/Rafael Tuck & Sons/London Paris and New York" in gilt lettering. Both covers display heavy wear and all of the interior pages have separated from the spine. The album pages have turned brittle with age and display numerous edge tears and chips. While the album itself is technically in modest condition, none of the flaws has affected the pristine nature of the die-cuts themselves. Total: 1,489 R.T.S. Artistic Series die-cuts. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,896
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