1912 Boston Garter Uncut Panel of Four Cards Including Frank Chance and Fred Clarke

Sold For: $177,750
Year: 1912
Auction: 2013 Spring
Lot #: 5
Auction: Featured
Even a single sample card from the 1912 Boston Garter set would be an extraordinary centerpiece in even the most advanced world-class collection. In all our years, we have had the good fortune to offer exactly three examples at auction (Mathewson in 2004, an example of Bescher in 2007, and an Eddie Collins in 2012). Presented is one of the greatest prizes in all of card collecting: the only uncut panel of four H813 1912 Boston Garter cards known to exist, featuring the following four cards: Frank Chance (HOF), Fred Clarke (HOF), Hal Chase, and Bob Bescher. The 1912 Boston Garter set is universally regarded as one of the rarest and most beautiful card issues ever produced. 1912 Boston Garters are quite unique in that each features a player in the dugout, without pants, in the midst of getting dressed, proudly displaying his Boston-brand garters. In the background are beautiful stadium scenes, featuring ballplayers warming up. We estimate that fewer than twenty-five examples of 1912 Boston Garters are known to exist in the entire collecting world. The offered item is the only example of these majestic cards known to exist in uncut form. While he is most well known for his incredible finds over the years of unopened material and 1952 Topps high numbers, few know that this iconic vintage card item was discovered long ago (approximately twenty-five years ago) by none other than legendary dealer Alan "Mr. Mint" Rosen. It quickly found a permanent home, and has resided as the most important highlight in the same advanced private collection for that entire time. The 1912 Boston Garter uncut strip has long been very well known and appreciated by collectors. It is one of the highlight items prominently featured among illustrious pieces of memorabilia in the 1993 book Baseball Archaeology: Artifacts from the Great American Pastime by Bret Wills and Gwen Aldridge. Since the day it was discovered, collectors have heard of it, and in some cases seen it (or seen images), and all have appreciated the 1912 Boston Garter strip as one of the most remarkable and beautiful of all vintage-card items. It is also hard not to appreciate its unbelievable good fortune in surviving intact and in such fine condition for all these years. The fact that the cards are in an uncut "accordion style" strip (that naturally folds along the lines provided) actually raises some interesting questions. Some of the very few known 1912 Boston Garters cards appear to have very rough edges, as if they were torn apart as opposed to cut. Perhaps those cards were long ago (in 1912) torn along the fold lines from uncut strips exactly like this one? We will probably never know, but it is an interesting theory and possibility, especially if the cards retailers were provided with by Boston Garter for store display (as specifically referenced as being available to them on the back of each card) were in uncut form (which based on the existence of this strip is likely). The cards on the uncut strip have been beautifully preserved over the past century, appearing very much as they did when produced in 1912. All four cards are bright and crisp, with vibrantly colored illustrations. Very light wear is visible at the corners and along the folds. The reverse of each card is boldly printed, perfectly clean, and free of any distractions. While this panel might technically grade Vg-Ex, it presents at a far superior level with any minor technical flaws entirely inconsequential in the context of the overall visual appeal of the piece. This is a staggering item, containing four original 1912 Boston Garter cards, each of which would be an incredible highlight and significant card on its own. It is not often that such a truly unique and remarkable item, with no other peers, is presented for sale. This is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the collecting world's most exceptional, rare, and beautiful prewar-card treasures. Dimensions: 16 x 8 inches. Reserve $50,000. Estimate $100,000+. SOLD FOR $177,750.00
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