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Lot # 30 (30 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1887 N690-1 Kalamazoo Bats Cabinet Card - Harry Stovey with “C. Gross & Co; Copyright 1887” Embossed Stamp

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,200

Spectacular N690 Kalamazoo Bats cabinet card of prominent Philadelphia Athletics outfielder Harry Stovey (Stowe). Kalamazoo Bats cabinet cards are one of the rarest of all nineteenth-century baseball card issues and feature the most stunning photography of any nineteenth-century set. We have handled fewer than half a dozen examples from this rare series in total during the past twenty years! Interestingly, legendary collector/dealer/auctioneer Lew Lipset (author of The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards), who during his long career handled a number of items from Stovey's estate, has been quoted as attributing the origins of many of the known N690-1 player cabinet cards within the hobby to Stovey's relatives. In the 1980s, many important Stovey items including various important awards were also purchased directly from the Stovey family by a very prominent Baltimore-area collector. It's been a long time, so we don't want to go out on a limb and say we are certain, but our recollection is that this very card was part of the Stovey Collection in Baltimore (which has since long been broken up but still has some Stovey relics direct from the family). This card was very likely Harry Stovey's personal copy of his Kalamazoo Bats cabinet card! The cabinet cards are extremely striking and are much rarer than the more traditonal smaller Kalamazoo Bats cards featuring Philadelphia players. Kalamazoo Bats cabinets are easily identified by their larger size (4.25 x 6.5 inches) and by the small “C. Gross & Co; Copyright 1887” stamp embossed directly on the photo. They are particularly noted for the distinctive style and quality of their images. The image on this card is very bold, with flawless contrast and simply unbelievable detail. It would be hard to imagine a higher-quality photograph from any era, let alone from 1887. We can literally count the laces on Stovey's shoes and the blades of grass underneath them. This is a stunning photograph. The photographer's backdrop is also a fascinating element, with painted plants and water. The photograph is bright, crisp, clean, and essentially unimprovable. The blank reverse is entirely clean. The cabinet, which measures approximately 4.25 x 6.5 inches, has an extraordinary overall Excellent appearance, with very light wear along the edges (more visible from the reverse). This is a remarkable high-grade example from one of the nineteenth century's most substantial and highly regarded sets. From the Dan Gantt Collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000/$3,000+. SOLD FOR $4,200

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