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    1894 N302 Mayo's Cut Plug Football Complete Set (35) - #4 on the SGC Set Registry! Modern American football is the offspring of various forms of a sport which has its origins dating back to medieval Europe. "Football," as Americans play it, was first introduced in the United States when teams representing Princeton and Rutgers Universities took to the field in 1869. Modern American football was established in the mid-1870's with a game played between Harvard University and McGill University. The teams operated under different styles of play with no universal style accepted by all colleges until the 1880's. With no professional leagues, college players were the leaders of the sport. Despite the formation of rules, football was a very violent game abundant with injuries. Over the next twenty years, college football saw significant growth in popularity. The fan base was widespread enough to justify P.H. Mayo Tobacco Works of Richmond, Virginia to circulate a roster of thirty-five different football Ivy League players representing Yale, Harvard and Princeton University teams for the tobacco firms' "Cut Plug" brand of tobacco. This is the first set exclusively devoted to football ever produced. For 19th century gridiron collectors this is, aside from a rare single entry here and there, pretty much all there is. The distinctive black borders and midnight colored backing helped diminish staining from the direct contact the cards had with their leafy roommate inside pouches and tins. Mayo did produce similar promotions for boxing and baseball fans.

    Modern hobbyists find acquiring Mayo's to be enormously challenging, and a good argument is made for the football subjects being the most difficult. Of particular note within the series is the "Poe, Princeton" card who is believed to be a relative of author Edgar Allen Poe. But even more significant is the appearance of the most famous rarity in the entire football hobby. For a century he was simply known as "Anonymous." Passionate hobbyists would eventually identify the nameless face as John Dunlop of Harvard University. For some unexplained reason this card is particularly hard to find and remains a key and particularly highly prized treasure among football card enthusiasts. To date, SGC has only graded six examples. This set offers an attractive "Fair 1.5" example that some would say has been assessed on the conservative side.

    This series is very hard to complete and few sets are ever made available at public auction. Going back an entire decade shows a mere handful have ever appeared in auction catalogs. To own a complete set of this series is a crowning touch to the most advanced football collections. The offered cards of Lea, Manahan, and McCrea equal the highest grade level known for those subjects. This set holds a GPA of 28.3 and currently ranks #4 on the SGC Set Registry. Includes: Graded - SGC 60 EX 5: 2 cards, Manahan and McCrea; SGC 50 VG/EX 4: 4 cards, Beale, Taylor, Waters and Wheeler; SGC 40 VG 3: 7 cards, Acton, Crowdis, Holly, Lea, Murphy, Stillman and Trenchard; SGC 30 GD 2: 4 cards, Barnett, Hickok, Morse, and Ward; SGC 20 FR 1.5: 10 cards, Adee, Anonymous/John Dunlop of Harvard, Beard, Brewer, Brown, Burt, Emmons, Greenway, Gouterman and Poe; SGC 10 PR 1: 6 cards, Armstrong, Grey, Mackie, Riggs, Thorne and Wrightington; SGC Authentic: 2 cards, Butterworth and Hinkey.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2010
    5th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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