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Circa 1933 Philadelphia Stars Team Postcard with Jud Wilson and Biz Mackey
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $5,875
Extraordinary panorama-style postcard picturing seventeen members of the circa 1933 Philadelphia Stars posing together in uniform along a street curb, including future Hall of Famers Biz Mackey and Jud Wilson. The printed title along the top border advertises "Ed Bolden's Phila. Stars." Each player is identified in print below: "Jake" Stephens (spelled "Stevens"), Herb Smith, "Mickey" Casey, Jud Wilson, Pete Washington, Clifford Allen, Porter Charleston, Biz Mackey, Ed Bolden (Mgr.), Paul Carter, "Rap" Dixon, Dick Lundy, Chaney White, "Eggie" Dallard, Cliff Carter, Webster McDonald, and Tom Finley. Based upon the identifications printed on the postcard, this photo pictures the club during its inaugural 1933 season, this fact alone making it perhaps the most historically significant of all Philadelphia Stars images. Ed Bolden, who had earlier guided the Hilldale Daisies to three consecutive Eastern Colored League Championships, founded the Philadelphia Stars in 1933. The team played one season as an independent club before joining the Negro National League in 1934. Success came early for the Stars, as the club defeated the Chicago American Giants to win the Negro National League pennant in 1934. Unfortunately, it also marked the final pennant for Bolden's club, which remained a member of the Negro National League until the League's collapse in 1948. The Stars continued play for the next two years as a member of the Negro American League before disbanding after the 1950 season. Any and all Negro League postcards, especially those featuring important teams, are very rare. The historical significance of this piece notwithstanding, it is also noteworthy for its special provenance. This postcard was once a part of the private collection of Richard Merkin. In addition to his reputation as one of America's foremost painters and illustrators (he is one of the people featured on the cover of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover), Merkin is well known for having long ago assembled one of the finest collections of Negro League postcards and photos in private hands. This was one of his gems. The postcard (5.5 x 3.5) bears a vintage blue-ink inscription on the reverse that reads "Champions of the Second Half 1938 Negro National League and won League Championship in 1936." (The Stars won the League Championship in 1934, not 1936.) The card displays only the slightest hint of corner wear, and a tiny crease in the upper left. Encapsulated and graded Fair 20 by SGC (downgraded significantly for the writing on the reverse and not a true reflection of the card's outstanding condition). Without regard to the inscription on the reverse, the card is in Excellent condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $5,875
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