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Details about  1866 E.S. Sterry & Co. First Known Baseball Cards (Unions of Lansingburgh) - SGC

1866 E.S. Sterry & Co. First Known Baseball Cards (Unions of Lansingburgh) - SGC

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BMW Sportscards

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Price:
US $179,000.00
Approximately C $195,870.74(including shipping)
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Last updated on  Apr 29, 2014 19:34:49 EDT  View all revisions

Item specifics

Professional Grader:

Sportscard (SGC)

Card Attributes:

Rookie

Original/Reprint:

Original

Team:

Unions of Lansingburgh

Era:

Pre-WWII (Pre-1942)

Card Manufacturer:

E.S. Sterry & Company, Photographers

Year:

1866

Professionally Graded:

Graded

Product:

Team Set

Sport:

Baseball-MLB



     


All six cards have been graded Fair 20 by SGC due to the players' names being penciled on the back. The approximate technical grades (without the writing) would be as follows: Abrams - Excellent, Craver - Good, King - Excellent, McAtee - Vg+, McCune - EM, McQuide - Good.

All cards (cartes de visite or CDVs) employ original photographs of the players. On the back of each card is the name and address of the manufacturer (E.S. Sterry & Co.) and information for ordering additional cards of each player. One of the cards, James McCune, has its reverse side printed upside down.

The Unions of Lansingburgh (later known as the Troy Haymakers) began their professional baseball existence in 1866 and were considered a good, but not great, team. They were, however, among the most notorious gamblers in baseball, fixing games and often bribing umpires to their statistical advantage. If any team could be considered the Black Sox of 19th century baseball, the Unions of Lansingburgh would have been a strong candidate. Bill Craver, the "Buck Weaver" of the Lansingburgh club, holds the infamous distinction as one of the first in professional baseball to be banned for illicit gambling in the Louisville scandal of 1877.

Of this group of six players, the most prominent were Michael McAtee (shortstop), Stephen King (left field) and Bill Craver (catcher), who all went on to have successful careers in the National Association.

Over the last decade, various claims have been made as to the "first baseball card". One claim is that the SGC Authentic card of David Birdsall (dated circa 1866-70) is the earliest. On this particular card, David Birdsall is pictured in a classic 19th century "shortstop" pose, the position he played during the 1870 season. It should also be noted that Birdsall never came to prominence until 1867, the year he was first named captain and the season his team played for the championship.

Another "earliest baseball card" candidate is the PSA Authentic 1863 Grand Match at Hoboken Benefit CDV of Harry Wright. The "Grand Match", however, was not a baseball game but a game of cricket.

There are also various postcards and early line drawings of games approximating baseball, but none could be called "baseball cards" in the traditional sense of the term.  Other CDVs also exist that feature images of the early game or specific players but most cannot be definitively dated to 1866 or earlier and those that can do not comprise a complete set or subset of a specific team -- i.e., they were not meant to be collected as baseball cards.  In our opinion then, this group of six different players from the 1866 Union team of Lansingburgh would represent the earliest known baseball cards.


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We are pleased to offer an exceptional group of vintage sports cards & memorabilia!



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All major U.S. credit cards are accepted including MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express.
Payment to be received within 10 days of auction close. Shipping via the USPS or FedEx. All items are automatically insured for safety.
Wisconsin residents please add 5.5% sales tax.

Questions? Please contact us at 608-833-5515 from 10 am to 7 pm (CST).


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