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1881 "Base-Ball At Blackville" Trade Card and Related Cigar Box
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $5,400
During the nineteenth century, unflattering caricatures and illustrations of African Americans, which usually played upon racial stereotypes, were common, even in mainstream advertising. Offered here are two such politically incorrect baseball-related pieces dating to those insensitive times. The first is a calendar trade card, issued by Clarence Brooks & Co. in 1881. The top half of the card features an illustrated game-in-progress scene that is titled along the bottom border "Base-Ball At Blackville - The 'White Stockings' Against The 'Black Legs' First Blood For The 'Black Legs'." This was a popular illustration at the time. It was featured in an 1878 issue of Harper's Weekly and later appeared on various trade cards. The bottom portion of the card displays a calendar for the month of June 1881, on one side, and advertising for Clarence Brooks & Co., a New York-based manufacturer of varnish, on the other. The card (4.75 x 6.25 inches), which bears a prepunched hole along the top (since torn through) so that it could be hung on a wall, displays a light, one-inch diagonal crease along the base and is otherwise in Excellent to Mint condition. Mounted, by means of photo corners, and framed to total dimensions of 12.5 x 14 inches. The second item is a nineteenth-century "Base Ball" cigar box featuring a colorful interior label depicting a similarly illustrated game-in-progress between two African American clubs. A side label depicts a portion of the illustration as well. The interior label remains in Excellent condition, while the side label depicts a few minor tears. The box (8.5 x 5 x 2.25 inches) displays heavy wear, including a number of abrasions and tears to both the wood surface and paper labels. In Good to Very Good condition. Both of these items are extreme Americana rarities. Total: 2 items (trade card and cigar box). Reserve $400. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $5,400
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