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Description1887 G20 Allen and Ginter "The World's Champions" Advertising Banner. With gorgeous Victorian-era lithography and portraiture featuring an intriguing assortment of 19th century sporting legends, the N28 Allen & Ginter "The World's Champions" set is considered one of the true masterpieces of the early trading card hobby. Among the baseball stars pictured are eventual Cooperstown fixtures Cap Anson, John Clarkson, Charles Comiskey, Tim Keefe, Mike "King" Kelly and John Ward. John L. Sullivan anchors the roster of bare-knuckle pugilists, while "Buffalo Bill" Cody and Annie Oakley provide firepower for the gun enthusiast. Rowers, wrestlers and billiards players help to round out the cast of fifty names. The historical significance of the set as one of (if not the very) first to exclusively feature athletic subjects needs no further explication.
In an indication of the scarcity of the N28 issue, it should be noted that just eight completed sets have been entered into the PSA Set Registry. Though as uncommon as the sight of the full complement of fifty cards may be, such a collection is rendered downright ordinary in contrast to the images of these fifty cards as pictured upon the presented advertising poster produced to build consumer enthusiasm for the collecting process. Posters such as these would have adorned the walls of the local cigar shop back during the presidency of Grover Cleveland, encouraging smokers to puff their way toward fulfillment of the set.
While Heritage has had the good fortune of presenting other advertising posters from the Allen & Ginter family at auction, this offering marks the first appearance of the "World's Champions" representation, unquestionably the most coveted of the group. While the prospects of survival for a 16x28" poster crafted from lightweight paper well over a century ago were slim, the presented example has endured the passing decades remarkably well. As our catalog imagery will indicate, the majority of wear is confined to the golden borders of the poster, with small tears repaired with vintage tape on verso in some cases. Chipping at upper edges will likewise be apparent. Verso is age-toned with apparent adhesive residue, suggesting that the poster had been mounted at some point. A scattering of very small, unobtrusive holes, and light scratching within the central image of the poster cause little distraction. Heritage offers the poster in its original condition as found, though we note that a rather simple professional restoration job could effectively return the poster to a NRMT appearance. With stunning visuals and "hen's teeth" rarity, this is a poster which commands the rapt attention of the true collecting connoisseur. The physical embodiment of the nostalgist's lament, "They sure don't make them like they used to."
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