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    1913 T200 Fatima Team Philadelphia Americans Premium. It's hard to know where to begin when singing the praises of this exceptional rarity, a piece that should leave even the most jaded collectors among us with dropped jaws. Perhaps we should start with the team itself, a World Championship squad that stands along side the 1927 New York Yankees as one of the game's fabled superpowers. The celebrated "$100,000 infield" of Stuffy McInnis, Eddie Collins, Jack Barry, and Frank Baker remained intact from the 1910-11 Championships, and further Hall of Fame talent of Eddie Collins, Chief Bender, Eddie Plank and of course the great Connie Mack rendered the squad all but unbeatable in 1913. All are present and accounted for in this exceptional team photographic image, with all the gruff charm of the Dead Ball Era.

    Next we should consider the condition of the piece, which defies all laws of probability in its excellence. Essentially an 11x19" thin paper photographic print affixed to a 13x21" cardboard mount, the nature of the composition does not lend itself well to decades of healthy survival. The very few examples that have surfaced in the hobby are typically riddled with chipping to the mount, water/humidity damage, significant foxing, or any combination thereof. Our offering breaks from tradition most vigorously, offering only a very minor chip to the white border area of the image and the slight shadow of moisture along the upper cardboard border which could be matted out by a peculiarly fastidious collector--the rest of us will hardly notice it.

    If the photographic image looks familiar to you, there's a good reason for that (and it's not because you've seen one of these premiums before). This same shot appears on the much more common--and yet still scarce--Fatima team cards (2.75x4.75" in size), which were packaged with Fatima brand cigarettes in 1913. The only difference in the images is that the premium does not feature the Fatima advertising logo. The other significant difference between the cards and premiums is that the latter could only be acquired by the redemption of forty coupons clipped from cigarette packs, another reason why the premiums are so exceptionally scarce.

    Note that the only specimens of comparable quality to be offered in recent memory derived from the famed Barry Halper Collection auctioned in the Fall of 1999. A Cincinnati Reds representation realized just over $8,000, while the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies easily topped $9,000. No student of baseball history would need to be convinced of just how much more desirable the World Champion Athletics premium is than any of Halper's offerings. It is unlikely that a finer specimen of this endangered species could possibly exist.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2005
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 437

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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