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To our knowledge, this is the only one known of its kind – an advertising poster that beckoned 1887 tobacco customers to the beautiful rewards of the Buchner Gold Coin brand. It’s an advertiser that was doubtlessly displayed at a point-of-sale, and every pack promised a colorful trading card depicting subjects from a wide panorama of American cultural interests. To excite the senses of the broadest customer base, there were included pictures of actors, horse racing jockeys, police officials and…ball players! And today, collectors of 19th Century tobacco cards categorize this massive production as N284, Buchner Gold Coin.
With its large sampling of images, this poster provides actual card-size renderings (1-3/4” x 3”) of the several groups. We note with fascination that among the actors is to be found Edwin Booth – perhaps the century’s greatest Shakespearian performer, but whose public image was unfairly disgraced by association. And among the jockeys there’s pictured one John Stovall–distinctly a Black man. A little research has disclosed that Stovall was indeed a popular rider in the late 1880s – a regular on the circuit that migrated annually from New Orleans to Saratoga. But most fascinating, of course, is the nine-subject featuring of the base-ball champion St. Louis Browns. These were the forefathers of the Cardinals, but presently, the Browns were franchised in the American Association – a circuit that was categorically viewed subordinate to the mighty National League. These Browns, however, had just won the Association’s pennant (1886) and in an exhibition series at the end of the season, they vanquished the National League champion Chicago White Stockings of Cap Anson renown. Regarded broadly as a "World Series" of sorts, this particular post-season marked the sole triumph for the American Association. The St. Louis players featured in this poster fairly reflect the principals of that roster, and they detail Jumbo McGinnis, Tip O’Neil, Arlie Latham, Bill Gleason, Curt Welch, Yank Robinson, Charlie Comiskey, Hugh Nicol, and wunderkind Bobby Caruthers (who continues, sadly, to be ignored by Cooperstown).
Aside from its stark scarcity and its profound antiquity, this heavy-guage paper poster features two other very meaningful virtues. The piece is capitally conspicuous - framed to 40” x 31-1/2” total dimensions, with a highest-quality inner border that exposes a surface of 26-3/4” x 18-3/4”. Perhaps most compelling, though, is that this poster, rendered by Julius Bien & Co. lithographers and benefiting in modern times from meticulous professional restoration (primarily at the borders, and including discreet touches of in-painting in some areas), continues to radiate minimally Near Mint aesthetic properties. With its highly decorative captions (“D. Buchner & Co.” and sub-titles), its unblemished portrayal of card subjects, and clean backdrop, this piece promises to become the crowning glory of the advanced 19th Century card holding.
1887 N284 "Buchner Gold Coin" Advertising Poster – Almost Certainly Unique!
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