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Circa 1897 Allen & Ginter N28- and N29-Related "Champions" Cigar Box
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $540
Extremely rare Allen & Ginter-related "Champions" cigar box featuring a colorful interior label picturing a number of illustrations taken from Allen & Ginter's N28 and N29 World Champions insert issues of 1888-1889, and images of four cards that were never issued. Curiously, this box does not actually appear to be issued by Allen & Ginter, but the cigar company has clearly borrowed A & G's "Champions" name and images. Among the eight "Champions" from the sporting world pictured here are baseball star William "Buck" Ewing (N29 card image), shooting expert "Buffalo Bill" Cody (N28 card image), Paulsen (N29 card image), Shafer (N28 card image), and four 1890s stars of the sporting world who do not appear in the N28 or N29 Allen & Ginter sets dating from approximately a decade earlier: boxer Bob Fitzsimmons, boxer Kid McCoy, jockey Tod Sloan, and cyclist Jimmy Michael. If these four 1890s stars had appeared in the 1888-1889 Allen & Ginter sets, or Allen & Ginter had issued additional "Champions" sets in the mid-to-late 1890s, their cards no doubt would have looked very much as they appear on the box. This is a very interesting piece! We have seen a number of examples of 1880s Allen & Ginter cigar boxes and labels; however, this one is clearly very different. It is a very unusual "updated" version, probably produced circa 1897, based on what is possible and the years of prominence of the four additional stars. Bob Fitzsimmons won the heavyweight title in 1897, making this year of issue all the more likely. This is the first and only example we have ever seen of this "Champions" cigar box. The name of the lithographer ("O. L. Schwencke") appears at the base of the label. The cigar manufacturer, "I. S. Koch" of Leighton, Pennsylvania, is printed on the interior base of the box. Remnants of the illustrated exterior side label remain, featuring images of boxers McCoy and Fitzsimmons. The box (8.75 x 5 x 2.5 inches) displays normal wear commensurate with its age and former use, and is in Very Good condition overall. The interior label has a pencil notation along the top border, and a small stain in the upper right corner that has resulted in a portion of the label having become separated from its backing. For an 1890s cigar box, it is in outstanding condition. This is a very rare cigar box, a tremendous display piece, and a fascinating Allen & Ginter card-related item. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $540
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