Rare 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card to be auctioned

Art Daily
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1868 The Atlantic Nine Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card. Starting Bid: $20,000.00.
1868 The Atlantic Nine Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card. Starting Bid: $20,000.00.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- A scarce Peck & Snyder trade card featuring the 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics will be auctioned at Robert Edward Auctions. Bidding ends April 19. Interested bidders may participate in the auction online.

The Brooklyn Atlantics, established in 1855, were one of the most prominent and successful baseball clubs in New York during baseball’s formative years. A charter member of the National Association of Base Ball Players in 1857, the Atlantics are best known today for their historic win over the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1870. That victory, by a score of 8-7 in extra innings, marked the first defeat for the Red Stockings in over two years. Ironically, the last team that had beaten the Red Stockings, on October 1, 1868, was also the Atlantics. Many of the Atlantic players responsible for that victory over the Red Stockings in 1870 are pictured here, including Pearce, Ferguson, Start, Zettlein, Chapman, and Smith. After the 1869 season, the Atlantics joined the ranks of professionalism, but they declined to join the National Association (baseball’s first professional league) during its inaugural 1871 campaign. Instead, the Atlantics waited a year and joined the league in 1872. They remained a member of the National Association during the remainder of its brief existence, but were not invited to join the National League in 1876. Without a league affiliation, the Atlantics continued to play an independent schedule for a number of years before disbanding in the 1880s.

The 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card has long been recognized as one of the most significant and greatest rarities of all nineteenth-century team cards. It has always been an essentially impossible-to-obtain “dream card” for advanced collectors. One had never come to auction until Robert Edward Auctions presented an exciting find of CDVs and trade cards in the May 2012 auction, which included the first 1868 Brooklyn Atlantics trade card seen in the modern era. That example realized an amazing final price of $82,950. The formal studio photograph captures nine members of the Brooklyn Atlantics posing together in uniform. All of the players are identified in print along the bottom border of the mount: Charlie Mills; George “The Charmer” Zettlein (misspelled “Zettlen” on the card), one of the top pitchers of the era; Dickey Pearce, the game’s first great shortstop and the player credited with practically inventing the position; Joseph “Old Reliable” Start, one of the game’s top hitters and a premier first baseman; Charlie Smith; Bob “Death to Flying Things” Ferguson, so nicknamed for his defensive prowess; Fred Crane; Thomas Pratt; and John Chapman. The reverse features advertising for Peck & Snyder (“Base Ball & Sportsmen’s Emporium”).

Bidding began at $20,000.