Massive relic is one of just two known!Circa 1910 Piedmont Cigarettes Oversized Tri-Fold Advertising Sign.
NOTE: This lot was recently featured in a Forbes Magazine article.
It's the most glorious celebration of the T206 era we've ever encountered, and a relic so impossibly scarce that only a single other example is known to exist to present day. The tiny surviving population is no surprise, frankly, as the sign's cardboard construction and colossal dimensions (61x40") hardly lend themselves to longevity. This example owes its very existence to a common cost-cutting practice of early twentieth century construction, when buildings were insulated by stuffing whatever paper products were handy between the exterior structure and interior drywall.
This enormous sign was recently rescued during the demolition of a century-old cigar store in Michigan where it had protected its residents from many a harsh northern winter. It emerges from its cocoon as a beautiful, winged butterfly, ready to tempt the top figures in the challenging collectibles subgenres of both trading cards and advertising pieces.
The imagery centers around a panoramic view of a Dead Ball Era game, a vista bursting with delectable period details from the thick-handled bats to the old-time photographer kneeling in foul ground to the straw-hatted fans in the stands, most puffing on the product being hawked. Note the five-cent price tag as expressed on the vendor's cap (and again in large format on reverse), and the design of the packs that are parked in the outfield and over the visiting dugout. These are consistent with the distribution era of the fabled T206, the most celebrated issue of the Tobacco Era.
Literally dozens of times as rare as the iconic Honus Wagner representation that serves as the set's poster boy, this sign represents an opportunity never before encountered in auction history. We present the sign exactly as discovered, separated neatly at its seams into three pieces and exhibiting an expected degree of water damage and paper loss as seen in our catalog imagery. Several semicircular gouges appear within the playing field, but any imperfections must be excused in light of the tremendous rarity and desirability of the piece. Certainly a skilled restorationist would be able to coax the mammoth display piece back to its original state, but we'll leave that decision up to the lucky victorious bidder.
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