Boston has loved its baseball for a long time.
Long before Yaz and Teddy Ballgame and even a young Babe, sports fans in the city flocked to watch the Beaneaters eat up opponents. In 1889, the team that had four future Hall of Famers even got their own baseball card set. Exceedingly rare today, the Number 7 Cigars set featured line drawings of 14 players and manager James Hart.
Now, the best accumulation of cards from what’s considered one of the rarest pre-War sets is coming to auction. The set that will be offered in the July Sports Card Auction at Heritage ranks as the number one All-Time Finest on PSA’s set registry, but in reality it’s nearly impossible to put together at all. PSA has graded just 32 cards from the set while SGC has seen 43. The set is the only N526 set on PSA’s registry.
Exactly how they were distributed isn’t known, but the Number 7 Cigars cards were a bit larger than most early card sets, measuring about 3 1/8″ by 4 1/2.” Printed on a thin stock, they were created by Howard W. Spurr & Company, maker of the Number 7 cigar. However, the backs can also include an ad for the Diamond S cigar. Others have been known to have blank backs.
There were four Hall of Famers on the ’89 Beaneaters and all have cards in the set: Mike “King” Kelly, “Old Hoss” Radbourn, John Clarkson and Dan Brouthers.
Eleven of the 15 cards in the set rank as the highest graded examples examined by PSA.
The set carries as pre-sale estimate of $10,000 or more.
The auction will open June 23.