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Lot # 976 (of 1512)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1896 New York Giants Season Pass - Extremely Rare!

Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,300

Exceedingly rare 1896 season pass, issued by New York Giants team owner Andrew Freedman to New York City police commissioner and Tammany Hall political chief John C. Sheehan. All nineteenth-century Major League season passes are rare and this example is no exception. This is only the second 1896 season pass we have ever seen! The 1896 pass is so rare it is virtually unknown even to advanced season-pass collectors. The fact that it was issued by the owner of the New York Giants to one of New York City's most powerful political figures of the day, of course, makes it all the more desirable. The circular pass, which appears to be made of silver (as are so many of the highly desirable passes issued years later), is unusual in that it grants entry not just to the Polo Grounds, but to all National League and American Association ballparks. The front of the pass features a floral pattern incorporated into a traditional crossed-bats-and ball design, with the lettering along the perimeter reading "National League And American Assn Circuits." The opposite side displays another floral pattern in the center, above which is engraved "Mr. Hon. John C. Sheehan - Acct - New York - Compliments of A. Freedman." The lettering along the perimeter reads "Championship Souvenir of 1896 Entree To All Parks." It is not surprising that Freedman, who owned the Giants from 1895 to 1902, bestowed this season pass to Sheehan, as both men were powerful leaders within the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine (Freedman made his fortune in real estate through the patronage of Richard Croker, another Tammany Hall leader). Sheehan was police commissioner in 1896 and also the leader of Tammany Hall from 1895 to 1897. The pass (1.375 inches in diameter) displays moderate wear and tarnishing consistent with its age. Also, the pass was originally crafted with a clasp at the top so that it could be hung from a watch chain or affixed to a lapel, but the clasp has since snapped off, with just a tiny remnant still evident. In Excellent condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,300


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