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1888 Old Judge Tobacco Advertising Store Display Die-Cuts Complete Set (28)
Starting Bid - $1,500.00, Sold For - $2,610.00
In 1888, Goodwin issued what is one of the "dream pieces" of baseball collecting, a giant advertising poster for Old Judge brand cigarettes, featuring 28 identified players in full color. The poster pictures large images of 28 players in the same poses in which they appear in the Old Judge baseball card set, but in full color, and in a much larger size (each approximately 5 inches in height) than the small sepia cards which Old Judge actually issued. Indeed, if Old Judge had issued a set in the large and full-color design as depicted on the poster, it would probably be the most highly prized of all nineteenth-century issues, but no such set was ever actually issued. This series exists only on the Old Judge advertising poster. Offered is a complete set of all 28 players which long ago were cut from an original poster, and carefully mounted onto the pages of a scrapbook album, as was the custom of the day. Included are the following Hall of Famers: Dan Brouthers, John Clarkson, Sam Thompson, Old Hoss Radbourn, Roger Connor, Tim Keefe, Pud Galvin, Charles Comiskey, and John Ward, all but two of which are full-body action poses. Cap Anson and Mike "King" Kelly are represented by portrait images, just as they are in the N172 Old Judge card series. Also included are Kid Madden, Meyers, Jim Whitney, Mike Tiernan, Richardson, Fred Dunlap, Miller, Dave Orr, Williamson, Andrews, Jerry Denny, Tom Daly, Caruthers, Gus Krock, and Jack Glasscock. Two players in the set are not identified. Occasionally, over the years, one or two individual players cut from a poster will surface, usually to much fanfare as collectors try to figure out the identification of this unusual, spectacular, and obviously Old Judge-related issue. This is the first large group, let alone complete set, that we have ever encountered. The cutout images have been neatly mounted on four sides of three large scrapbook pages (each 11 x 13.5 inches), along with a few 1888-era scrapbook trade cards. In the Victorian era, before the days of television, it was a very popular pastime for collectors to assemble albums in this fashion for display and enjoyment. While many cards and other items were specifically designed for inclusion in such albums, occasionally dedicated collectors created their own items for mounting by cutting up particularly impressive and graphic larger pieces, such as posters. In addition to being the most spectacular of all nineteenth-century advertising posters (in our opinion), the color Old Judge poster is also perhaps the rarest. Only one example of the poster has ever surfaced at auction, which we handled several years ago, and that example was missing a portion of the bottom (representing approximately one-third of the poster). Fortunately, the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has a complete poster, which is one of its most prized nineteenth-century exhibits, and referencing this poster we were able to verify that the twenty-eight players on these album pages do, in fact, represent a complete set. The players are each cut out with such extraordinary care and perfection that at a glance they look like manufactured die-cut cards. Player names below each image are original from the poster. The colors are bright and fresh, with no staining, soiling or discoloration, as they have been protected from all elements in the confines of an album for approximately 115 years. A few have very minor edge wear. None of the bats, extended hands, or legs have folds or creases. The set displays beautifully as is, but of course could be removed by a professional conservator if desired. Total 28 Old Judge poster cutouts, presented on four sides of three scrapbook pages. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $2,500/$5,000. SOLD FOR $2,610.00
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