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1889 A35 Goodwin Round Album
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $14,950.00
The "Goodwin Round Album," as it is known in collecting circles, was available only by mail in exchange for coupons packed with Goodwin Tobacco. The baseball-shaped album is comprised of nine pages featuring players, an advertising page, plus two covers, all attached by a round metal clasp. Four pages each feature a single beautiful full-color portrait (Anson, Kelly, Ward, and Comiskey). Five pages picture four players each, including Hall of Famers Mickey Welch, Tim Keefe, Roger Connor, John Ward, and Jim O'Rourke in full-length poses. The reverse of each page contains player records and game schedules printed in blue. The outstanding graphics and its extreme rarity make it one of the premier of all nineteenth-century printed baseball items, and the most desirable of all pre-1900 tobacco premium albums. Offered is one of the hobby's highest-grade examples of this most desirable nineteenth century tobacco premium album. Usually these albums have had the clasp removed, allowing the pages to be separated. The clasp has never been removed from this Round Album, though it would be easy to do so. Because the clasp is still intact, the pages inside have literally never seen the light of day. This has posed an interesting problem for us which we have never previously encountered, and which we presented to our consignor to address according to his wishes: in order to most ideally photograph each page for the catalog we would have to separate the album, otherwise we would be able to show only a representation with pages fanned. Our consignor has instructed us to leave the clasp as is, with the rationale that he has had this album as a prize in his collection for countless years, and has always elected to keep it in its original form. It can always very easily be separated, but it is the desire of the consignor to leave this option to the buyer's discretion, if desired. The fact that the pages have not seen the light of day speaks for itself. It would be impossible to imagine finer, brighter, and more colorful interior pages. Eight of the nine interior pages with players, and the advertising page, are in simply astounding Near Mint to Mint condition. The four-player page (featuring Keefe, Ward, Ewing, and Welch) that sits just beneath the top cover is only Nr/Mt due to a most minute surface abrasion between the clasp and the edge of the page (perhaps due to swiveling the top cover over the years to see what the top page looks like). The front and back covers each have a crease tangent to the clasp, obviously resulting from peeking at the top and bottom pages without taking advantage of the swivel design allowed by the clasp. The back cover has separated from the album clasp but is complete and intact. It is interesting to note that the album covers are very commonly lost entirely, and the interior pages are often found with serious damage and tearing to the clasp hole, probably from being torn from the clasp instead of being carefully removed. The Round Album has always been highly valued in any condition. Even back in the 1930s, Jefferson Burdick assigned a value of $10 to the Round Album, reflecting its status as one of baseball collecting's most valuable items. This was back when a T206 Wagner was listed at a then incredible $50. The values of most nineteenth-century baseball tobacco issues have soared over the past ten years. It is interesting to note that the Round Album, based on criteria as varied as rarity, beauty, players represented, and how incredibly substantial it is, now represents in the opinion of many serious collectors a tremendous value compared to other nineteenth-century baseball tobacco issues. This may be in part because it is so rarely offered, and when Round Albums do surface they usually have serious condition problems, as well as the fact that grading companies do not yet grade album pages due to their size (8 inches in diameter). It is very rare that an untouched, legitimately ultra high grade example of this nineteenth-century classic surfaces. In over 30 years, we have seen only two other examples in a similar extraordinary high grade. Nr/Mt to Nr/Mt-Mt condition. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000. SOLD FOR $14,950.00
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