1887 Allen & Ginter Store Display Advertising Poster

In July 2000, Robert Edward Auctions & eBay presented The Wagner Card as the featured item in their internet/telephone auction. But the auction was LOADED and included this amazing 1887 Allen & Ginter Store Display Advertising Poster.

Here’s the lot’s full description:

This poster advertises the very first full color baseball card set ever issued, the classic N28 Allen & Ginter Tobacco set of “Worlds Champions” Allen & Ginter, and competitor Goodwin & Company were the first to introduce the novelty of baseball cards as advertising inserts in the late 1880’s when they included one card in each pack of tobacco to encourage the sale of their products and to promote brand loyalty. This poster advertises the very first Allen & Ginter set to feature baseball players. It features illustrations of all ten baseball cards in the set, plus the cards of all forty additional sporting champions of the day which comprise this historic set. The ten baseball players include Hall of Famers Cap Anson, John Clarkson, Charles Comiskey, Tim Keefe, Mike “King” Kelly, and John M. Ward, as well as noted stars Charles Bennett, Robert Caruthers, Jack Glasscock and Joseph Mulvey. Other famous athletes in the set include Nineteenth Century boxing champions Jack Dempsey and Jake Kilrain. Printed in full color, this advertising poster was produced utilizing the highest caliber chromolithographic printing techniques of the era. One of the most attractive and significant of all baseball display pieces, this poster was supplied by Allen & Ginter only to tobacco stores, and was designed to hang in these shops for the purpose of announcing the landmark “World Champions” card set of 1887. To the best of our knowledge, there are only five N28 Allen & Ginter posters known to exist. Of these, it is our opinion that this example is in the finest condition. Extremely bright, crisp, and clean; close examination reveals a few small creases; with minor professional restoration; still overall Excellent condition. 28″ x 16″ Museum backed and framed. Value references: To date, according to our research, there has never been an N28 Allen & Ginter poster sold at auction. In the 1930’s Jefferson Burdick made note of this poster in The American Card Catalog (which was the first price guide and the publication that originally introduced the catalog reference numbers such as T206, R319, etc, which are still in use to this day). Assigning the N28 Allen & Ginter poster the catalog reference code “G20”, Burdick valued the poster in the 1930’s at what was then the shocking sum of $15, making this the second most valuable baseball item listed in the entire American Card Catalog, trailing only the T206 Wagner (which was valued at $50).

I’ve found a few other sales, including a pair from Heritage Auctions; this first one sold for $15,535 in April 2010.

This next one went for $9,000 in August 2017.

Between those sales, in January 2014, Lelands sold a restored copy for $18,752.

Hobby Library decoration goals!

Giant 1950s Ted Williams Moxie Window Decal

It’s a miracle that any of these 1950s Ted Williams Moxie Window Decals survived; Sotheby’s offered this one in their 1994 Important Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia auction.

Sotheby’s described the item as a large stick-on window decal printed on sturdy, weather-proof plastic with the original backing paper still attached. They added that the piece was 21” wide by 32” high in near mint to mint condition.

Heritage sold the following framed example in August 2023 for $8400 (the estimate in 1994 was $2000-2500).

Oh yeah, it looks like they used the same George Woodruff portrait that Topps and Fleer used on Williams’ cards!

1947 Bob Feller Dreamsicle Window Sign

Another great piece of vintage athlete-endorsed advertising is the partnership between Bob Feller and Dreamsicle.

This 1947-dated piece( it says “Copyright 1947 Joe Lowe Corp” in the lower left) was sold by Sotheby’s in 1993. It features a multicolor caricature of Feller pitching on paper stock; the back is blank. The piece is approximately 7 1/2” x 19 1/2”.

It was a previously unknown piece to the hobby until the year before the 1993 Sotheby’s auction when about a dozen examples were obtained from a single source.

Given the scarcity, I’ve only found a few other sales; REA sold the following framed example for $480 in their 2017 spring catalog.

More recently, Mile High Card Co. sold this one for $1108 in December 2020.

“Pitch into a Delicious Dreamsicle,” says Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians Pitcher!

Stan Musial Wonder Bread Cardboard Advertising Sign

Here’s another classic cardboard advertising sign of Stan Musial pitching for Wonder Bread; it’s what “Good Ball Players Need” to “Build Strong Bodies 8 Ways.”

Sotheby’s offered this example in its April 1994 catalog of Important Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia. It is described as a late 1940s/early 1950s 30 by 40-inch piece in excellent overall condition.

This isn’t the first Stan Musial Wonder Bread ad that I’ve shared; there’s the more “common” one that he shares with Mickey Mantle and another cardboard example with seven of the era’s biggest stars.

Reggie Jackson Signed Topps Baseball Card Contracts

Here’s a neat piece of hobby history: Reggie Jackson’s signed Topps Baseball Card Contract from August 1971.

The piece was available in Ron Oser Enterprises’ December 2000 catalog and was described as follows: “Very desirable contract for his appearance on bubble gum cards signed in blue ink ‘Reggie Jackson.’ Also signed by Sy Berger, the famous President of Topps Chewing Gum. This August 14, 1971 contract extends for two years the existing contract that Topps had with Reggie. He raked in a whole $75 for this transaction. Signed baseball card contracts are quite sought after, as the signatures are unequivocally genuine. LOA from Mike Gutierrez/MastroNet.”

The contract itself is an “Agreement between: Reginald M. Jackson player, and TOPPS CHEWING GUM, INC.”

It reads, “We, the undersigned, hereby agree to extend the term of our present contract, plus extensions, if any, for an additional period of two years or two full Baseball Seasons, as the case may be, on the same terms and conditions contained in said contract. This extension agreement shall be governed by the Laws of the State of New York. A bonus payment of $75.00 will be due the player the first time after signing this extension that he is or becomes an active member of a Major Leagae Baseball Team between May 15 and August 15.”

I found another contract on Cooperstown Expert. They wrote, “Shown here is Jackson’s contract with Topps Chewing Gum to appear on baseball cards for 1974, ’75, and ’76. Signed by Jackson at the bottom, this deal calls for the slugger to receive a $75 bonus payment.”

And REA included the following signed contract extension between Jackson and Topps, along with a few signed checks in the fall of 2019.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if a single collector ever managed to snag a complete run of Reggie Jackson Topps contracts?

1936-1992 Run of World Series Programs

The early ’90s Sotheby’s Important Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia auctions were packed with incredible material; one example is this run of 93 World Series Series Programs dating from 1936-1992 (including, of course, my favorite, The Out Of This World Series).

This particular Sotheby’s auction was held in March 1993, and the lot had an expected closing price of $12k—$15k. Here’s the full description:

Run of World Series Programs: 1936-1992, ninety three programs, complete run from 1936 through 1992 inclusive, a very significant group which includes the Miracle Mets, every Yankee Championship from 1936 with Gehrig and DiMaggio through 1962 and the Mantle/Maris years, the great New York battles of the late 40’s and into the mid 50’s between the Giants, Dodgers and Yankees, every great star is featured, including Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Tom Seaver, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Al Kaline, Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose and up through to today’s modern day superstars, World Series programs are very substantial, loaded with pictures and records, and historically significant, exceptional condition with no program less than excellent but overall most programs are near mint or better condition.

1934 Quaker Oats Babe Ruth Advertising Sign

In 1993, Sotheby’s offered this Quaker Oats Babe Ruth Advertising Sign in their Important Baseball Cards and Sports Memorabilia auction. Sign me up for this club!

The sign was described as a multi-color, large (16 by 20 inches) cardboard die-cut stand-up advertising sign showing prices for the Quaker Oats Babe Ruth baseball club.

REA sold an identical, possibly the same, display in the spring of 2008 for $1292; they dated it to 1934 and acknowledged it had been restored.

In the description, REA noted Quaker Oats produced other similar signs for grocery stores. Here’s another one I found online, dated to 1935.

If you’re still interested in joining the Babe Ruth Baseball Club, membership cards pop up for sale from time to time. This one, with an original envelope, sold for $168 in 2023.

More about these Babe Ruth advertising signs and the Baseball Club in future posts!