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1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Jim O'Rourke, NY's
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $13,035
Graded FAIR 20 by SGC. Presented is an extraordinary Kalamazoo Bats portrait example of Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke. This rare New York Giants portrait card is one of only three examples ever graded from the N690 series by either SGC or PSA. One is an SGC VG/EX 50. The other graded example, an SGC EX 60, appeared in REA's 2011 auction as Lot #10, realizing $58,750. New York Giants and Mets player Kalamazoo Bats are among the rarest of all nineteenth-century cards. We estimate that fewer than thirty-five examples in total are known in the entire collecting world. Only a small number of these, of course, feature Hall of Famers. The New York player Kalamazoos all feature portraits, and are considered by advanced collectors to actually be a set unto themselves, distinct from the rare but far more readily available Philadelphia Athletics series. In Lew Lipset's The Encyclopedia of Base Ball Cards Volume 1 - 19th Century Cards published in 1984, he speculates that the Kalamazoo Bats Mets and Giants players actually date from 1886 (as opposed to 1887), and an analysis of the known players (including checklist additions discovered since 1984) verifies that this is almost certainly the case. The offered example is crisp and clean with a flawless portrait, superb contrast, and even wear to the four corners. It has been downgraded in large part due to the presence of a single heavy diagonal crease. The crease does not break the surface and is not particularly obtrusive when viewed head on. It is much more noticeable from the reverse. The reverse also exhibits some light wrinkling in the bottom right corner (not visible on the front) as well as a three-line period ink notation at the top of the reverse which reads "Present to Ella Shuley By Mary L Decker." Despite the technical faults, this is an extremely attractive example and presents an outstanding opportunity to acquire not just a sample, but one of the few Hall of Famers from one of the rarest and most desirable of all nineteenth-century baseball-card issues. Disclosure per section 13 of REA's terms and conditions: This lot has been consigned from the personal collection of an executive or employee of Robert Edward Auctions (or a relative of an executive or employee). Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $13,035
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