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1870 Philadelphia Athletics BBC Team CDV with A. J. Reach
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $4,200
Graded VG 40 by SGC. Presented is an outstanding example of one of the most historically significant of all nineteenth-century cards: Extremely rare team composite CDV featuring portraits of the 1870 Philadelphia Athletics. The 1870 Athletics were one of the top teams of the era before the formation of the National Association in 1871. The card features ten identified player portraits in ovals, including A. J. Reach (at 11:00). In addition to his later prominence as baseball executive and entrepreneur, Al Reach was one of the top players in the game in the 1860s and early 1870s, and is credited by many as being the first professional baseball player. Also featured on this team are Dickie McBride (center), perhaps the greatest pitcher of the National Association, Harry Schaefer, George Bechtel, Thomas Berry, Count Sensenderfer, Fergy Malone, Wes Fisler, Tom Pratt, and John Radcliff. This is, with few exceptions, the very same team that won the championship of the National Association in the 1871 inaugural season. The "universe" of CDVs featuring significant pre-1871 teams is very small, consisting of perhaps as few as ten different cards. The 1870 Athletics CDV is one of the few, and one of the most significant. Produced by photographer John L. Gihon of Philadelphia (812 Arch Street), with advertising on front and reverse in red. The card (2.25 x 3.75 inches) presents exceptionally well for the assigned grade. Bright and crisp, with particularly strong photo contrast. The photo quality of the portraits is bold and flawless. Name identifications are all perfect and bold (though the type is very small, as made). A tiny scrape at the top in the background above the player images oval is very minor and not distracting, though no doubt impacted the technical grade. Overall extremely clean reverse, bearing studio information in the center, with light toning, especially along the bottom. Very conservatively graded in our opinion: when this card was sold at a Chicago auction in November 2000 it was graded Near Mint. Technical professional grades sometimes do not do justice to nineteenth-century cards and that is certainly the case here. This is a magnificent example, one of the finest we have ever seen, of one of the most important team CDVs of the era, and one that would be a significant addition to any advanced collection of nineteenth-century cards. It is also one of the very few cards ever produced featuring Al Reach as a player. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,200
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