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1916 M101-4 Sporting News Near-Complete Set (198/200)
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $16,800
Outstanding near-complete set of 1916 M101-4 Sporting News, missing just two cards for completion (#151 Ruth, which is offered as a separate lot in this auction, and 162 Shore). The 1916 M101-4 set is one of the most highly regarded and comprehensive baseball-card sets of the era. The set is commonly referred to as issued by the Sporting News, but, as most collectors know, the set was actually issued by several different companies, including and most prominently the Sporting News. Cards were printed with advertising for regional issuers as well as with blank banks. Collectors traditionally refer to blank-backed M101-4s as issued by the Sporting News. The M101-4 Sporting News set is universally recognized as one of the most significant of all prewar baseball-card issues. Very few complete sets exist. This is one of the most important and comprehensive of all prewar baseball-card sets, including all the top stars of the day. This set is loaded with highlights, including thirty-two Hall of Famers (including Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Nap Lajoie, Casey Stengel, Walter Johnson, etc.), extremely desirable key cards of "Black Sox" players (Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Hap Felsch, Chick Gandil, and Buck Weaver), and many other key and star cards.
This a very attractive and extremely consistent near-complete set. At first glance, the entire set appears to be in Vg-Ex to Ex condition, as all cards are bright and crisp, with strong corners and typical scattered centering issues. Close inspection, however, reveals that all but two cards in the set have two almost identically placed and very faint surface creases visible on the card front - one that passes horizontally through the top third of the card and another that passes vertically along the right border. These creases do not break the glossy surface of the card, and they do not pass through to the reverse. They would, however, cause the entire set to grade more modestly than their appearance suggests if submitted for professional grading. The entire set would grade Gd to Vg, with seven Fr and two Vg-Ex. We submitted six key cards to SGC for grading and encapsulation. The grades for these six cards are listed below, and all other cards would fall squarely in the Gd/Vg range. Keys: #4 Alexander, 9 Baker, 10 Bancroft, 13 Bender, 17 Brown, 28 Carey, 32 Cicotte (Black Sox), 34 Collins, 36 Comiskey, 38 Cobb (GOOD 30), 41 Crawford, 54 Evers, 55 Faber, 56 Felsch (Black Sox), 64 Gandil (Black Sox), 72 Griffith, 84 Hooper, 86 Huggins, 87 Jackson (Black Sox, FAIR 20), 90 Jennings, 91 Johnson (GOOD+ 35), 97 Lajoie (GOOD+ 35), 107 Mack, 112 Maranville, 113 Marquard, 116 McGraw, 142 Rixey, 144 Robinson, 146 Roush, 154 Schalk, 164 Sisler, 169 Stengel (GOOD+ 35), 174 Tinker, 182 Wagner (GOOD+ 35), 184 Walsh, 186 Weaver (Black Sox), and 188 Wheat. The backs of all 198 cards are blank, except for #132 (Sporting News).
It is very rare to find this legendary issue offered as a complete set. In fact, this is only the second complete or near-complete (missing two cards) set we have offered in the last fifteen years. This is a remarkable offering and an extremely attractive complete set (less two cards) that presents exceptionally well and far better than suggested by its modest technical grades. The equivalent SMR value for just the six graded cards (factoring in the five half-grades at the lower whole-grade level and not including the 192 ungraded cards!) is currently $1,870. Total: 198 cards. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $16,800
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