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Pair of Rare 1904 Stenzel’s “Rooter Button” Pins (Cincinnati Reds)

  • Sold For: $2,370
  • Year: 1904
  • Auction: 2014 spring
  • Lot #: 1306
  • Auction Category: Pins

Stenzel's "Rooter Button" pins are among the rarest of all souvenir player pins. Issued in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1904, all feature Cincinnati Reds players. The two offered examples picture pitchers Jack Sutthoff and Jack Harper, respectively. The design of the small, celluloid pin (1.25 inches in diameter) features a portrait image of the player in the center, with the text above reading "Stenzel's Rooter Button." The last name of the player and his respective position (abbreviated form) are noted in print below the portrait. As noted in the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards , nearly all of the information we have about this issue is provided by the paper insert on the reverse, which reads "Compliments of Jake Stenzel, B. B. Exchange Opposite Ball Park." Below that is the name of the printer, "Pettibone/Cin'ti." Jake Stenzel, who lived in Cincinnati for nearly his entire life (he was born there and died there), enjoyed a nine-year major league career (1892-1899), including one season with Cincinnati. Obviously, he was also an entrepreneur, as evidenced by the manufacture and sale of these pins, which he sold or gave away as promotional items right across the street from the ballpark. According to the Standard Catalog , the known checklist for this issue currently numbers eleven, but the exact number of different players in the set is unknown. These are the first two examples we have ever offered and we have seen very few over the years. Both of the offered pins are complete with their reverse paper inserts. The Harper pin displays moderate handling wear, including a few surface scratches, and is in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The Sutthoff pin displays light-to-moderate wear, including a few tiny areas of light discoloration along the perimeter in the lower left quadrant. In Very Good condition overall. Total: 2 pins. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $2,370

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