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1912 S81 Large Silk Premium #108 Christy Mathewson
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $1,680
Crisp, clean example of key Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson (New York Giants) from the 1912 S81 Large Silk tobacco premium issue, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and highly regarded of all baseball tobacco issues. This example is entirely new to the modern collecting world, having never before been offered publicly. It is part of a small group of eight S81 silks (six baseball and two nonsport) consigned to this auction and featured in the Internet Only section. These silks have been in the possession of our consignor for more than twenty-five years ever since he inherited them from his great uncle. They have been carefully stored for maximum protection (as can clearly be seen) throughout the years. S81s were issued at the same time and as part of the same promotion as T3 Turkey Reds and L1 Leathers. The S81 silks could only be obtained by mail, in exchange for 20 tobacco coupons per silk. The redeemable coupons were inserted one coupon per pack, so it is not surprising that these premiums are extremely rare.
Longtime collectors may notice that Mathewson turns up with far greater frequency than any other player in the S81 set. In the late 1980s, there was a find of S81s. We do not know the exact number of silks in the find, but suspect that it may have been as many as fifty. Most were in high grade, and all were of Mathewson. They have long since been absorbed by the collecting world, and today (especially for old-timers who remember when S81 Mathewsons were around and looking for homes) it is actually surprising that they don't turn up more often. The fact that Mathewson is one of the great stars of the set, and of all time, and that the S81 of Mathewson is one of the most attractive of all Mathewson issues, has no doubt played a role in making these beauties seemingly disappear from the marketplace.
This offered silk has a flawless image area with extremely bold, bright colors, and perfect registration. There are very tiny bits of fraying at the top and bottom, as is almost always the case with large silks, and a few light wrinkles. Very careful examination of the perimeter also shows evidence of having once been sewn into a display on three sides and then carefully removed to its current state (it is difficult to see even in person, but looking very closely we can tell it was long ago sewn, as intended); it is otherwise in Near Mint condition. This is a very striking example of Christy Mathewson from one of the rarest and most classic of all 1910-era tobacco-premium issues.Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,680
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