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1889 M-UNC Police Gazette Cabinet Tim Keefe
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $8,225
Extraordinary high-grade and possibly unique example of Hall of Famer Tim Keefe from one of the rarest of all nineteenth-century baseball-card issues: the 1889 Police Gazette cabinet-card series. Few cards, nineteenth century or otherwise, can compare with the extreme rarity of this set. This is the first Police Gazette cabinet Hall of Famer card we have even seen in many years. Fewer than fifty examples in total are known to exist. The 2008 Standard Catalog lists only thirty-five different known subjects. The exact method of issue of this set is still unknown, but they were most likely issued as premiums by Police Gazette in 1889. The Police Gazette, one of the most prominent of all weekly periodicals of the era, provided in depth coverage of professional baseball. The formal studio photo pictures Tim Keefe in uniform, as a member of the New York Giants. This particular image of Keefe was not used for his 1888 S. F. Hess card (a similar image was used), though the distinctive oval-style portrait design is identical to that used by S. F. Hess and the cabinet, at first glance, looks like a giant S. F. Hess card. This image appears to be unique and does not match any of Keefe’s other known card issues. It is interesting to note that this very card was used for illustration as the plate specimen in the Police Gazette section of Lew Lipset's groundbreaking Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards Volume 1, 19th Century Cards, published in 1984. This is an outstanding and extremely striking cabinet card. The image on the photo is very bold, with flawless clarity and contrast. Very bright and crisp, both front and back, with a tiny pinpoint spot of a stain near the lower right edge of the photo (of no consequence but mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy), and an extremely light vertical shadow line running through the center. The mount has the gilt-embossed imprint "Richard K. Fox - Publisher of the Police Gazette, Franklin Square, New York." The mount has only the lightest edge and corner wear. The reverse has a hint of paper loss on three of the corners and a small paper remnant in the upper right. Encapsulated as Authentic by SGC apparently due to some very minor color touchups on the mount, which are extremely subtle and barely detectable even with a trained eye. This is an exceptional Hall of Famer example from one of the nineteenth century's most elusive and highly regarded issues. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,225
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