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Lot # 41 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1887 Four Base Hits George Van Haltren SGC EX 60

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $47,400

Addendum: It has come to our attention that the offered card does not actually picture George Van Haltren, despite decades of appearing on checklists and in reference guides as such. According to the research of Mark Fimoff, co-chair of the SABR Pictorial History Research Committee and noted facial-recognition expert, there are several distinct differences between the player depicted and Van Haltren. While further research is needed to properly identify the player pictured, we find this new information fascinating and thank Mark for his efforts! Interestingly, this is not the only instance of mistaken identity within the Four Base Hits set, as Tido Daily’s card actually depicts Billy Sunday. We hope that the true identity of the player depicted will one day be known, and until then, this remains an extraordinary sample from this extremely rare nineteenth century issue.

Update: We have heard from John Thorn (extraordinary baseball scholar and the Official Major Historian for Major League Baseball) who has identified the image of the ballplayer on this card for us as that of George Moolic, who played only one season in the Major Leagues in 1886. REA thanks both Mark Fimoff and John Thorn for their insight, efforts, and for taking the time to communicate with us!

Graded EX 60 by SGC. Presented is an extraordinary Four Base Hits example of nineteenth-century star George Van Haltren. Four Base Hits are among the most legendary rarities of all baseball-card issues. In our more than thirty-five years of specializing in nineteenth-century cards, Robert Edward Auctions has handled no more than seven or eight cards from this incredibly rare set. In the entire world we would be surprised if as many as twenty-five cards exist, and the actual number may in fact be far fewer. This may be the only Four Base Hits example known to exist of George Van Haltren. We have never seen another. This is a very striking high-grade example, with no creases, superb photo contrast, only very modest corner wear, perfect centering, and some light toning on the blank reverse. Van Haltren is not in the Hall of Fame, but his .316 lifetime batting average and star status over 17 years in the Major Leagues has always made him a worthy candidate for consideration. While the Four Base Hits of Van Haltren has never been offered at public auction, interestingly this is not the first time we have handled this extraordinary card. It was one of the prize rarities in the collection of hobby pioneer Lawrence Kurzrok, and was purchased directly from the Kurzrok estate in the 1970s by future REA president Robert Lifson, who in turn sold it to noted collector Bruce Dorskind (for $400 at the time!), from whose estate this rarity is now offered. This is a very significant card from a set which has been revered for its legendary rarity dating back to the days of Charles Bray, Wharton-Tigar, and Jefferson Burdick. Excellent condition. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000++. SOLD FOR $47,400

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