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Lot # 36 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1888 Dark Town Battery Base Ball Bank Trade Card - Highest Graded!

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,800

Graded EX/NM 80 by SGC. Highest-graded example by SGC! Presented is a remarkable example (very possibly the single finest surviving example) of one of trade-card collecting's most highly revered extreme rarities. Extraordinary high-grade example of the extremely rare advertising trade card for the famous Dark Town Battery bank, produced by William Blair & Co. of Chicago. This is the single rarest, most valuable, and desirable of all bank-advertising trade cards and all baseball trade cards. Fifteen color trade cards in total were issued promoting the popular mechanical banks manufactured during the 1880s. These are by far the most highly prized cards among advertising trade-card collectors and are also highly sought after by mechanical toy-bank collectors. These cards have a tremendous long-standing history of always being very highly prized in the collecting world. In fact, when Jefferson Burdick first published the American Card Catalog, the mechanical toy-bank advertising cards were listed at the highest average value per card of all cards in the entire catalog. The Base Ball Bank trade card listed for a then extraordinary $7 (this at a time when the T206 Plank listed for $10 and the Wagner listed for $50).

Burdick even saw fit to assign the baseball bank trade card its own ACC catalog number (HB3). The Dark Town Battery trade card, of course, advertises the classic Dark Town Battery mechanical bank. It is the only card from this series which has a baseball theme. There are fewer than twenty confirmed examples of the Dark Town Battery trade card known. This may be the single finest example of this great rarity in the collecting world. We have never seen or heard of another example that comes close: It is bright, crisp, and perfectly clean, both front and back, with particularly vibrant colors, flawless registration, perfect centering, and only the slightest light, even wear to the square corners. This is a spectacular example of one of the great treasures of all advertising trade cards of the nineteenth century. As a point of reference, this card originally appeared as Lot 62 in REA's May 2011 auction, where it realized $4,700. It has been consigned directly by the original purchaser.   Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000+. SOLD FOR $4,800

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