Inaugural Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/27/2012
Few vintage card sets boast as rich and fascinating a history as the N172 Old Judge Cigarettes cards of the late 1880s.  An enormous set with more than 500 players and more than 3,000 variations (and more being discovered all the time), this is a photographic set that is not only the largest set ever produced, it has also been the subject of more study and research than any other baseball card set with the exception of T206.  Despite all the research, new things are being learned about Old Judges all the time.

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945, first baseman Dan Brouthers is represented liberally in the Old Judge set, with multiple cards and several team variations among those cards.  This particular version has Brouthers in the "bat at ready over shoulder" pose, with the Detroit team.  The card boasts a striking image, as opposed to many N172s that display extremely faded images.  

Professional grading standards, developed to be applied to all card issues, are unfair to Old Judges for a number of reasons.  First, card sizes vary, and trimming is difficult to detect.  Second, many cards from the 19th century were stored in scrapbooks and thus contain considerable damage to their blank backs in the form of paper loss that does not impact the front of the card whatsoever.  Third, many Old Judges, as a result of their photographic process, have lost their backs altogether (typically called "skinned" cards in the hobby).  Lastly, and most importantly, the grading companies typically do not consider the quality of the image when assessing the grade - a card with a heavily faded, almost barely visible image could grade high, while a card with a crisp image but back damage could grade much lower.

Such is the case with this Brouthers.  The card has a clear, vivid image and no signs of trimming.  The front of the card has a slight bend in the center - not a crease, but a slight score that does not disrupt the image or break the paper on the card's face.  The primary issue detracting from the card's technical grade is a strip of paper loss along the back, underneath the marking of what was clearly a piece of Scotch tape that was used to affix the card into a scrapbook at some point.  The paper loss at the back is what accounts for the slight bend in the front of the card.

This is, however, an outstanding example of how an Old Judge can present as a VG or even VG-EX card but still receive a low technical grade.  Graded 10 by SGC for the aforementioned back damage, this is a much, much nicer card than the grade would imply, and an outstanding example of a highly sought-after Hall of Famer from the 19th Century.

Population data:
SGC Population: 50 total graded, 7 at this level, 37 higher
PSA Population: 3 total graded, none at this level, 2 higher*

*Note that while SGC's population report does not account for the different pose variations of the Brouthers card, the PSA report does.  As such, the SGC data above reflects the graded population of all N172 Brouthers cards, while the PSA report reflects just this particular pose.
1887 N172 Old Judge Dan Brouthers (HOF) - crisp image!1887 N172 Old Judge Dan Brouthers (HOF) - crisp image!
1887 N172 Old Judge Dan Brouthers (HOF) - crisp image!
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $600
Final prices include buyers premium.: $826
Number Bids: 3
Auction closed on Saturday, October 27, 2012.
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