Spring, 2021 Auction - Closes April 3, 2021
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/4/2021

Outstanding cabinet photo that is perhaps the most famous of all 19th Century baseball card images - that of Hall of Famer Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, staring at the camera, hands on his hips, flipping the bird to the photographer!  Radbourn is actually the subject of the first known photograph of a person "giving the finger," dating to an 1886  team photo where the pitcher is offering the gesture to the cameraman.  Pictured here, one year later, Radbourn offers the same gesture to the cameraman, perhaps slightly more subtly.

Considered by many to be the greatest pitcher of the 19th Century, Radbourn won 310 games lifetime, including an astonishing 60 wins in 678.2 innings for the 1884 Providence Grays.  Radbourn moved to Boston in 1886, where he continued to be a standout until departing for the Player's League in 1890.  

The "obscene gesture" pose of Radbourn from the smaller-format N172 Old Judge Cigarettes issue is one of the most popular and memorable of all the Old Judge baseball cards, and consistently commands a premium due to the unique image (a PSA 1 version of the N172 card sold for $9,600 a few years ago).  The larger-sized cabinet photo, however, is an entirely different story.  The N173 Old Judge cabinet of the "obscene gesture" pose is an incredible rarity, a card that simply never becomes available for sale. In fact, we can find only one example of this photo having sold at auction, a Gray Studio Cabinet utilizing the same image that sold for nearly $13,000 in 2019.  

This example boasts a clean image, with visible foxing that does not interfere with the image of Radbourn himself.  The reverse exhibits a glue stain and paper remnants from where it was removed from a scrapbook; a mixed blessing given how well the photo itself has been preserved.  Clearly, the Old Judge advertising information has been trimmed off the bottom of the mount.  However, in the case of this card, which is considerably more rare than, for example, a T206 Wagner, it will likely take years before another becomes available.  

This is an incredible card, an extraordinary rarity with incredible appeal.  One of the most famous and most desirable of all 19th Century baseball card images, in a very rare cabinet-sized photo, the only N173 Old Judge example of this classic image that we have ever encountered.

Rare 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet Old Hoss Radbourn (HOF) - Obscene Gesture!Rare 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet Old Hoss Radbourn (HOF) - Obscene Gesture!
Rare 1888 N173 Old Judge Cabinet Old Hoss Radbourn (HOF) - Obscene Gesture!
Click above for larger image.
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $9,840
Number Bids: 14
Auction closed on Sunday, April 4, 2021.
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