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1868 The Atlantic Nine Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card - Newly Discovered Example!
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $22,800
Exceedingly rare Peck & Snyder trade card featuring the 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics. This tremendous newly discovered example of one of card collecting's greatest early rarities was just recently found within an old collection of period CDVs passed down through generations of the same family! Looking the card up on the Internet, the family found REA, and was shocked to learn the card was so valuable. (They were so shocked, they were actually concerned that it was maybe somehow not real! Fortunately, it could not be any more authentic!)
The 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card has long been recognized as one of the most significant and noteworthy rarities of all nineteenth-century team cards. It has always been an essentially impossible-to-obtain "dream card" for advanced collectors. To the best of our knowledge, one had never come to auction until REA presented an exciting find of CDVs and trade cards in the May 2012 auction, which included the first 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card we had ever seen in person, let alone offered. That example, encapsulated as "Authentic" by SGC, realized an amazing final price of $82,950. A second example, also encapsulated as "Authentic" by SGC but with a much more severe trim of the mount, was sold by REA in Spring 2014 and realized $29,625. The condition of the offered example, encapsulated as "Authentic" by SGC, is much closer to that of the 2012 example, with the identifying "The Atlantic Nine, 1868" text entirely visible along the bottom of the mount (it was missing in its entirety from the 2014 example).
The formal studio photograph captures nine members of the Brooklyn Atlantics posing together in uniform. All of the players are identified in print along the bottom border of the mount: Charlie Mills; George "The Charmer" Zettlein (misspelled "Zettlen" on the card), one of the top pitchers of the era; Dickey Pearce, the game's first great shortstop and the player credited with practically inventing the position; Joseph "Old Reliable" Start, one of the game's top hitters and a premier first baseman; Charlie Smith; Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson, so nicknamed for his defensive prowess; Fred Crane; Thomas Pratt; and John Chapman. As mentioned previously, the team name and year ("The Atlantic Nine, 1868") is displayed directly underneath the player identifications. The reverse features advertising for Peck & Snyder ("Base Ball & Sportsmen's Emporium").
The Brooklyn Atlantics, established in 1855, were one of the most prominent and successful baseball clubs in New York during baseball's formative years. A charter member of the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857, the Atlantics are best known today for their historic win over the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1870. That victory, by a score of 8-7 in extra innings, marked the first defeat for the Red Stockings in over two years. Ironically, the last team that had beaten the Red Stockings, on October 1, 1868, was also the Atlantics. Many of the Atlantic players responsible for that victory over the Red Stockings in 1870 are pictured here, including Pearce, Ferguson, Start, Zettlein, Chapman, and Smith. After the 1869 season, the Atlantics joined the ranks of professionalism, but they declined to join the National Association (baseball's first professional league) during its inaugural 1871 campaign. Instead, the Atlantics waited a year and joined the league in 1872. They remained a member of the National Association during the remainder of its brief existence, but were not invited to join the National League in 1876. Without a league affiliation, the Atlantics continued to play an independent schedule for a number of years before disbanding in the 1880s.
Encapsulated as "Authentic" by SGC due to trimming of the mount. The card measures approximately 3-1/2 x 2-11/16 inches but still offers extraordinary eye-appeal. (Trade cards, which were normally larger than CDVs, were often trimmed at the time so that they could fit into CDV albums. In fact, we have been able to locate images of only four other examples of 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics CDVs, all of which were similarly trimmed though the team name and year were left largely intact.) The photographic contrast is extremely strong throughout. Light wear is present at the corners coupled with light wrinkling along the right and left borders. Only a small wrinkle halfway down the right border affects the photo portion of the card. The reverse is boldly printed with a crisp, clear black-print Peck & Snyder advertisement. Scattered creasing is present throughout the reverse but does not detract from the overall visual appeal in any way. Without regard to the trimming, the card is in Good condition and presents stronger. This is a remarkable, newly discovered example of one of the nineteenth century's most significant and elusive rarities. The 1868 Peck & Snyder Brooklyn Atlantic trade card also holds the distinction of being one of the earliest-known baseball cards. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $22,800
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