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1898-1899 National Copper Plate Co. Portraits Collection (45)
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $26,663
Collection of forty-five player portraits (8.75 x 11 inches) issued by the National Copper Plate Company in 1898-1899. This is a very significant issue as it includes what many consider to be the rookie cards of Honus Wagner, Jimmy Collins, Elmer Flick, Willie Keeler, and Bobby Wallace, among others. If these portraits look similar to those issued by The Sporting News during that same time period, it is because they basically are, save for the The Sporting News name printed at the top. The National Cooper Plate Company produced the player portraits for The Sporting News, which were issued free with each copy of the paper. However, at the same time, the National Copper Plate Company also sold the portraits (specially produced without advertising for The Sporting News) in a string-bound portfolio of fifty. Offered here is a near-complete collection of those portraits produced by the company, all of which (as issued) have had two holes punched along the left side to allow them to be bound together. The cover is missing, as are five of the portraits. The players represented here are (Hall of Famers in bold): Amole, Becker, Bergen, Collins, Corbett, Criger, L. Cross, M. Cross, DeMontreville, Dexter, Donovan, Doyle, Duffy, Dwyer, Ely, Esterquest, Ewing, Flick, Friend, Gilpatrick, Goar, Griffin, Griffith, Hill, Hoy, Hughes, Joyce, Keeler, Kelley, Kennedy, Lange, McGraw, Mercer, Nops, O'Connor, Padden, Shindle, Stahl, Stein, Thompson, Wagner, Wallace, Willis, Wilson, and Yeager. The five missing for completion are: Anson, Dowd, Nichols, Robinson, and Zimmer. Without reference to the two punch holes affecting each, the portraits are in Excellent condition overall with minor edge and corner wear (just a few lesser; including the "top page" portrait of Goar, which has an area of toning along the top border). Most present as Near Mint, with clean, crisp, player images. The individual National Copper Plate portraits could easily be separated if desired. Included at the rear of the folder, bound with the other portraits, are eight 1899-1900 M101 Sporting News supplements (Fair overall, with numerous folds and tears): Nap Lajoie, James T. Williams, Roy Thomas, Mike Donlin, Clarence Beaumont, Theodore Breitenstein, Herman Long, and John Freeman. This album is a remarkable newly discovered find that has never before been offered in the modern collecting world, with great significance as a rarely seen near-complete National Copper Plate set dating from the late 1890s, an era with few substantial issues. With patience and effort, this set could possibly be completed, and the collection also naturally has great potential break value. Total: 53 player portraits (45 National Copper Plate Company and 8 Sporting News supplements). Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $26,663
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