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1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Team CDV - Newly Discovered Example!
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $27,000
Rare style carte-de-visite of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team. This example is entirely new to the modern collecting world! It was just recently unearthed by a noncollecting family while going through and organizing an accumulation of old family possessions. The card was found buried among hundreds of old family photos. Because it didn't quite look like a family photo, they took note and decided to look into what it was, and further investigation of this piece soon revealed that it was actually a very special and rare baseball card!
The 1869 Red Stockings CDV is one of the hobby's most classic and historically significant baseball cards. There are actually several different styles of 1869 Red Stockings team cards, all featuring the same photograph but displaying slightly different mounts. This is a very unusual variety, with the team name appearing to the right of the team image on the mount ("Red Stocking B. B. Club, of Cincinnati") and all players identified on the reverse (both extremely desirable design elements that are not shared by all 1869 Cincinnati Reds team CDVs).
When this card was issued, the new technologies allowing for the mass production of photographs were in their infancy. Various popular subjects were candidates for such cards, especially famous political figures, entertainers, and historically significant geographical and architectural sites from far-away places. These carte-de-visite photographs were intended to be saved and stored in albums. In an age without television and little travel, these cards were a revolutionary tool allowing people to learn about the world around them. It is not surprising that photographs of the 1869 Red Stockings were a popular subject purchased and saved by fans. Led by Harry and George Wright, the Red Stockings toured the nation and went undefeated for ninety-two consecutive games. Because of their dominance, the team was a legend in its own day, though at the time, of course, no one could have imagined the impact the team would have on the game. Just two years later the National Association, baseball's first all-professional league, was formed in large part because of the success of the Red Stockings. Shortly thereafter, in 1876, the National Association gave way to the National League and baseball officially became big business.
The photo displays superb contrast (far above average when compared to nearly all the known examples). All of the identifying numbers on each player (which correspond to the player identifications on the reverse) are bold and clearly legible. Some of the Cincinnati uniform logos are a little lighter than others, but all remain discernible with the naked eye. A small unobtrusive stain is present near the legs of the two players sitting at the left of the bottom row, but its positioning against the dark background of this area makes it blend in quite well. Its technical grade of FAIR 20 from SGC notwithstanding, this is one of the finest examples of this card we have ever seen. The mount (2.5 x 4 inches) is perfectly clean, with light wear at the corners and no creases. The low technical grade it received from SGC is due in large part to very light erased pencil on the reverse (a trait common to cards from this era). Without reference to that erased notation and the small stain, the card is in strong Excellent condition. As noted earlier, this card is new to the hobby and was just recently discovered. This is an outstanding example of the highly prized 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV that would be an extremely important addition to any world-class historical baseball collection and an extremely significant highlight in any advanced collection of nineteenth-century cards. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).
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