Big Find of 19th Century Baseball Cards

What passes for a “find” these days?  A collection of 1960s football cards a long-time collector finally decides to unload?  Maybe a group of autographed items from a team out of baseball’s history books?  All are well and good, but when you can bring a collection of eight baseball cards from the post War era…the post Civil War era…out into the marketplace for the first time, you’ve got something.

Cincinnati Red Stockings Trade CardRobert Edward Auctions announced Tuesday that they had acquired a fresh consignment of more than 130 19th century CDVs and trade cards including eight with baseball subjects.

Included in the collection turned over by a family who aren’t baseball collectors but general hobbyists who used to scour antique shops are a newly discovered example of the 1868 “The Atlantic Nine” Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card (the earliest of all Peck & Snyder team cards, one of only several examples known, and one of the most Atlantic 9 1868 Peck and Snyderimportant of all nineteenth-century baseball card rarities. The 1868 Atlantics defeated the Red Stockings in 1868, and also broke the Red Stockings’ winning streak in 1870. To the best of their knowledge, this is the very first example to ever come to auction).


  • 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV (two examples of one of card collecting’s most important cards, one of particularly special note as it features an advertisement for Peck & Snyder Sporting Goods on the reverse);
  • 1870 New York Mutuals Peck & Snyder Advertising Trade Card
  • 1870 Philadelphia Athletics BBC Team CDV with AJ Reach;
  • 1870 Forest City’s of Rockford CDV with Al Spalding;
  • 1870 Chicago White Stockings Peck and Snyder Advertising Trade Card
  • 1871 Chicago White Stockings F. A. Pierce & Co. Advertising Trade Card.

REA says each of the eight baseball team cards will be offered individually.

The balance of the collection features non-baseball subjects including politicians (such as 1868 Democratic presidential candidates Seymour-Blair, 1872 Democratic candidate Horace Greeley, and a card featuring the 1872 Republican presidential candidate  Ulysses Grant with running mate Henry Wilson), famous people (such as P.T. Barnum and Charles Stratton), boxers (such as Jem Mace), actresses, musical and literary figures, and generals. That group will be sold as one lot.

The 19th century cards were found at an antique shop in Charlevoix, Michigan decades ago and they have been sitting in a wooden cigar box ever since, according REA, which chronicled the find and offered photos in the company blog.