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Extremely Rare 1909 D355 Niagara Baking Otto Knabe
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,200
Presented is one of the most extraordinarily rare type cards in existence: a D355 Niagara Baking of Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Otto Knabe. This card falls into the category of being an essentially impossible-to-find legendary rarity, so rare that even its existence borders on the mythical (similar to T231 Fans Cigarettes). Even the most advanced collectors have been unable to secure a sample from this elusive regional set! Issued by the Niagara Baking Company of Lockport, New York, the D355 Niagara Baking cards are in fact E101 cards featuring a purple overprint on the reverse advertising one card with any of the company's breads. Overprinting allowed for Niagara Baking to repurpose a regular E101 to function as its own advertising vehicle at a modest cost. Most collectors are not even aware that the D355 set exists. Jefferson Burdick documented the Niagara Baking cards in his American Card Catalog, assigning them their own designation, with the following set description: "50 Baseball Players, hand stamped, Niagara Baking, as E101." While the D355 checklist is believed to be complete at fifty cards (as is the E101 set), Burdick only had six examples in his collection, which is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Burdick's proximity to Lockport, New York (he lived in the same region), no doubt contributed to him having even these six cards. In 1969, when Richard Egan published his Handbook To U.S. Early Candy & Gum Baseball Issues reference guide, only the six cards from Burdick were even cataloged. Our consignor acquired this card many years ago from another collector, who had acquired it from none other than legendary collector/dealer/auctioneer Lew Lipset (author of The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards). In the several decades since, there has been no change to the confirmed checklist. To date, the offered example of Knabe is the only example ever evaluated by a professional grading service, and it is the only example we have ever seen in our more than forty years in the hobby! Graded GOOD 2 by GAI, the card is bright and crisp, with outstanding centering, a deep red background, and even wear at the corners. Light creasing in the upper left corner causes us to grade the card slightly more modestly, but the extreme rarity of this card makes any technical grade of far lesser importance. It's a great-looking card. The back is boldly printed, with a bold purple ink stamp at the bottom, an ideal quality for any overprinted card. This is an incredible rarity, and one that would be an extremely significant addition to any world-class type-card or prewar-card collection. Because of its extreme rarity, there is no consensus on value. As always at REA, that's for the bidders to decide. But whatever the final auction result, it is exciting for REA to have the opportunity to offer one of card collecting's most interesting and legendary sample cards, and in the process to document the elusive D355 Niagara Baking set for the first time (and possibly only time that will ever be!) in the online and printed pages of the REA catalog. From the Dan Gantt Collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,200
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