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1886 The Celebrated Champions St. Louis Browns Cigar Box
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $2,937.50
1886 "The Champions" wooden cigar box opens to reveal a stunning posed team photograph of the legendary St. Louis "Brownie Champs," with portraits in circles of owner Chris Von Der Ahe and Charles Comiskey in the upper left and right, respectively. Discovered relatively recently, in 2004, this is the only known example of this stunning cigar box. The box is designed with an albumen photograph of the St. Louis Browns affixed to the interior of the lid. The quality of the photo is equal or superior to that found on the very highest-quality team cabinet cards of the era, but instead of being mounted on a cabinet card mount, the photograph is affixed to the cigar box lid. The composite design of the photograph is exceptional and very elaborate. The silhouetted posed images of the players have been superimposed over a photograph of the St. Louis ballpark, with the grounds and grandstands providing the panoramic-style background to the image. The image is framed on the top and sides by a "stage curtain" design, with the portraits of Von Der Ahe and Comiskey in the upper left and right appearing to be hung from the curtains. "St. Louis Browns" and "The Champions" in elaborate lettering in the top center completes the beautifully composed design. The photograph has been perfectly preserved on the interior of the lid in the closed box since 1886, protected from all elements including light. The contrast and sepia tones are flawless. On the exterior of the box, "The Champions" appears on the top of the lid in large embossed gold-colored script. A very colorful paper label on one side apron includes an illustration of a ship and reads "The Celebrated Champions Cigars." Additional exterior labels (largely intact) include an oval Metropolitan Cigar Factory and United States tax stamp on the back apron and bottom of the box. In our opinion, this is the premier baseball-related cigar box of the era. It is also one of the most exciting, interesting, and visually appealing of all nineteenth-century baseball-related advertising pieces of any kind. The box is in spectacular Excellent condition. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $2,937.50
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