Even some of the most advanced collectors don’t own a card from the 1888 S.F. Hess set, but they’ll have a chance to do just that next month.
The S.F. Hess set is one of the hobby’s most challenging issues with fewer than 40 cards total on the grading company population reports. There are three series in the set but the known checklist includes other celebrities and athletes beyond the diamond. The Welch card has been graded SGC 40 (VG), with a surface scratch and light wrinkling on the back. The photo on the front of the card remains clear, despite being 130-year-old.
Welch was one of the top pitchers of the 19th century, winning 307 games in just 13 seasons with a 2.62 ERA from 1880-1889. In 1885, he won 44 games with an ERA of just 1.66.
The same portrait on the S.F. Hess card can be found on Welch’s 1887 Four Base Hits issue and a Police Gazette cabinet.
The card is expected to sell for $30,000 or more when bidding comes to a close. The auction is slated to open on March 28.