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Graded 20 FR 1.5 by SGC. Offered is an example of the famous Peck & Snyder trade card from 1869, picturing baseball's first professional team. The importance of this singular baseball card cannot be overstated. Although allegations circulated that some individual players accepted payment for their services, baseball was an amateur sport prior to 1869. The Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first team to openly declare that their ballplayers were compensated. The people of Cincinnati wanted to field a baseball team capable of competing with the strong teams from the East, and Harry Wright was hired to assemble the powerful squad envisioned. Wright was a great cricket player who also excelled at baseball, and he was a man who understood the game in all its complexity. He immediately hired his brother, George, to play shortstop. Harry paid himself $1,200, and his brother, the team's superstar, was its highest-paid player at $1,400. (Both Wrights were eventual Hall of Fame inductees.) He added Asa Brainard as the "Ace" pitcher, and filled out the rest of the roster with top-quality players from virtually everywhere except Cincinnati. The town's experiment worked to perfection, and the Red Stockings went undefeated for the entire year of 1869. The Cincinnati nine beat all comers during that season, including local squads and established teams from New York and Pennsylvania. That year, 1869, a New York sporting goods store (Peck & Snyder) issued this trade card featuring an actual sepia photograph of the team. On this example, the quality of the photo is superb.
Obverse: The remarkable image, captioned by the names of the players pictured, maintains solid focus. The letter "C," acting as the team symbol on each player's chest, is faint but clearly visible on all of the athletes' uniforms. The 3-3/8" x 4-5/8" mount puts forth full legibility in its print with peripheral edge and border faults to the cardboard that have little impact on the card’s visual appeal. A small wrinkle can be seen at the top-left corner of the photo component. The mount is full-sized, and has been spared the trimming that affects many of the known examples of this rarity.
Reverse: There are two known versions of the Peck & Snyder reverse. The offered example refers to the retailer as “The New York City Base Ball and Skate Emporium” located at 22 Ann Street, New York while the other, more common example refers to the retailer as “The New York City Base Ball and Sportsman’s Emporium” at 126 Nassau Street, New York. In recent years a hobbyist discovered an old Peck & Snyder store receipt, on which the printed Peck & Snyder address of “22 Ann Street” is crossed out and the receipt has been stamped with “Removed to 126 Nassau Street, May 1, 1870”. It is on this basis that we believe the scant few "Ann Street" types (two verified examples to date) can lay claim to being the earliest-made examples of this hobby icon. This specimen's back concedes spots of scuffing (affecting a few characters in the advertising text). The history of the professional game, as well as the origin of our hobby, is personified in this incredible artifact. A classic and historically important foundation piece, in presentable Fair condition.
1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Peck & Snyder Trade Card, "Ann Street" Variety - SGC 20 FR 1.5
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