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    The finest Mort Rogers representation known!

    1872 Mort Rogers Boston Red Stockings vs. Baltimore Canaries Photographic Scorecard #1 Picturing Harry Wright. If you're unfamiliar with the issue we'll forgive you--the Mort Rogers scorecard is so rare that even many advanced collectors are unaware of its existence. But all those who have made its acquaintance have fallen instantly in love, as many consider the issue to be the very first set of "trading cards" to feature an array of individual professional baseball players. The scarcity of the early baseball relics has shrouded them in mystery, with leading experts surmising that there are anywhere from a few dozen to one hundred surviving today.

    Many of the surviving examples have been trimmed down to the photographic image area, sacrificing the second page entirely, and clues to the quantity of original subjects exist only in the numbers printed above the "Mort Rogers Base Ball Photographic Card" cover text. We are aware of one numbered as high as "48."

    Baseball historian John Thorn notably unearthed a news item in the July 7, 1871 edition of the Cincinnati Daily Gazette regarding Rogers' sale of the scorecards at a reunion game featuring the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Excerpted text:

    "A new invention in the score card line, and one that is destined to supersede all other such arrangements now in use, made its appearance on the Union grounds in the games of Monday and Tuesday. It is an ordinary large sized score card, with a photograph of some prominent ball player pasted on the outside of each. The whole arrangement is very neat and complete. Mr. Mortimer Rogers, of Boston, and a member of the Boston base ball club party, is the originator of the device."

    We are comfortable in suggesting that the listed representation stands as the finest Mort Rogers specimen known, a distinction we assign both for the fine state of preservation and, more importantly, the identity of the cover subject. Fittingly serving as "No. 1" of the issue is Harry Wright, the founder, manager and center fielder of the first professional baseball team, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. He represents that team, relocated to Boston, in this image. It also bears mentioning that Wright is credited as the inventor of the baseball scorecard, a fact that lends further significance to this offering.

    Remarkably, the contest for which this scorecard was used finds the top two teams of the infant National Association of Professional Base Ball Players--the first professional sports league--pitted in battle. Three future Hall of Famers--Harry and brother George Wright, along with pitcher and future sporting goods magnate Albert Spalding--appear for Boston on the interior scorecard. It would appear that the final score was nine to three in Boston's favor, a result that matches a June 22, 1872 meeting with the Canaries at the Red Stockings' South End Grounds.

    Only light surface and edge wear is to be reported in a consideration of condition, without any creasing or tearing common to paper goods approaching a sesquicentennial. Dimensions when unfolded are approximately 5x7".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2016
    20th-21st Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,467

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

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