Spring, 2019 Premier Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/14/2019

Few prewar card issues epitomize the phrase "scarce and desirable" the way the 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bat cards do.  Issued between 1886 and 1887, the "K-Bats" are CdV-sized photographic cards mounted on heavy cardboard.  While some have advertising printed on the back, this particular card is of the blank-backed variety.

Presented here is a spectacular example of Hall of Famer Jim O'Rourke's card from the N690 issue.  One of just three examples known, this is the highest-graded and easily the most appealing of the three.  Even the EX 5 grade assessed by SGC does not do the card justice; the clean surface and impeccable image is sharper and more clear than any KBat we have ever seen.  

The scarcity of Kalamazoo Bats cards, coupled with their desirability among advanced collectors, means that they do not trade hands very often.  Assembling a complete set is nearly impossible.  As such, even lower-grade commons routinely sell for thousands of dollars as type collectors attempt to acquire a single example for their collection.  Further, while many of the Kalamazoo Bats cards featured members of the Philadelphia Phillies, players such as this O'Rourke, from the New York Giants, are significantly more scarce.

Obtaining an example of one of the issue's Hall of Famers, however, is a different issue entirely.  On the rare occasion that a Hall of Famer does make itself available, the results are impressive: a Roger Connor graded GOOD 2 by SGC reached $44,000 in 2011, and a John Ward graded VG/EX 4 by SGC sold for $141,000 as far back as 2008.  This very card, in fact, sold for just under $60,000 in 2011.

Beyond all those stats, though, this is simply a beautiful card.  The image itself is in fantastic shape, slightly off-center with very minor corner touches and a few minor spots of foxing on the reverse responsible for the technical grade but certainly not detracting from the card's visual appeal.  The detail in the image is such that the streaks in O'Rourke's mustache and the stripes in his shirt and tie are clearly visible.  While the SGC holder does exhibit some vertical surface abrasions, the card surface is clean.

Please note that this card is being offered with a modest reserve, well within the range of typical sale prices for Hall of Famers in this grade range and consistent with past sales of this very card.  As is the case with any item offered with a reserve, we will publish the exact dollar figure of the reserve within approximately 7 days of the auction close, provided that the reserve has not been met prior to that date.  Consistent with our new "active reserve" policy, the bid price will then be brought within one bid increment of the reserve.

An extraordinary card from one of the hobby's most rare 19th Century issues, one of very few Hall of Famers in the set, the highest-graded of the three known examples.  A truly rare and important baseball card.

Ultra-Rare 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Jim O'Rourke (HOF) - One of Three Known, Highest Graded!Ultra-Rare 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Jim O'Rourke (HOF) - One of Three Known, Highest Graded!
Ultra-Rare 1887 N690 Kalamazoo Bats Jim O'Rourke (HOF) - One of Three Known, Highest Graded!
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Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $25,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $90,002
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Sunday, April 14, 2019.
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