If we had to make a list of the ten most important baseball cards of all time, it would be impossible to not have the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Peck & Snyder trade card near the top of this short list. In addition to being one of card collecting's great rarities, it has a unique special historical import as it features the very first professional baseball team, the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. This is the team that started it all, the team led by George and Harry Wright that toured the nation, and in the process put baseball on the map as a professional sport. By any definition, the 1869 Cincinnati Reds Peck & Snyder is one of the earliest of all baseball cards, and one of the few collecting icons representing the birth of both professional baseball and the "baseball card."
Several known varieties of cards feature this classic team pose of the 1869 Red Stockings. The smaller CDV style is known with several different backs; most known examples are blank backed. The larger Peck & Snyder trade card is universally recognized as the most desirable of the several card styles featuring this image of the 1869 Reds, both because the players are identified on the front of the card, and because this style features advertising for Peck & Snyder's "Base Ball and Sportsman's Emporium" ("126 Nassau Street, New York") on the reverse. Peck & Snyder was a leading retailer of baseball supplies at that time. The larger trade-card style, of which the offered card is an example, is known with red or black printing on the front and back of the mount, as well as several variations to the advertising on the reverse. The offered example is the most desirable style, with red printing on the mount and with the classic Peck & Snyder advertising on the reverse. The offered card has been neatly trimmed down from its original size and now measures 4 by 2-3/4 inches, but ideally still contains the team name and player identifications on the larger lower border. The photograph retains its strong original contrast, which is notable as the photo quality of 1869 Reds team cards is often very poor, and many times the contrast does not even allow for the reading of the "C" logos on players' shirts. The photo contrast on this example is outstanding, with the "C" logos on the uniforms legible. The trimming has naturally affected the advertising reverse as well, but the Peck & Snyder brand name and trademark illustrated figure are both entirely intact. The back is flawless and entirely clean with only a few light creases visible. This is especially noteworthy for a card such as this where the advertising on the reverse has such great significance. The actual mounted photograph is in Ex-Mt condition. Without reference to the trimming and the extremely minor technical flaws, the card has an overall Excellent appearance. Bright, crisp, and clean, this represents an incredible opportunity to acquire one of the most important cards in the collecting world at a fraction of the cost of a problem-free example. Encapsulated as "Authentic" by PSA (submitted by REA). Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).