Extremely rare sample card from the N167 Old Judge series of 1886 featuring New York Giants Hall of Famer Mickey Welch. It is interesting to note that Welch's last name is misspelled as "Welsh" on this card. As detailed in the May 2013 article on N167 Old Judges in Old Cardboard magazine, while this set has always been identified as being issued early in 1886, it is very possible (in fact, we think a virtual certainty) that the N167 set actually dates from 1885. Few nineteenth-century cards compare in rarity or significance to N167 Old Judges. These cards represent the very first series of baseball cards ever issued by Old Judge and feature photogravure portraits based on photographs by Joseph Wood. In addition to their very distinctive look, they are also the only Old Judge series to feature advertising on the reverse. The thin stock on which N167s are printed makes them especially susceptible to tears and other damage. The card is encapsulated "Authentic" by SGC due to an irregular cut on all four sides as well as heavy back damage from album removal. The card was laminated several decades ago (when cards were very modest in value) to preserve the condition of the card. Despite the obvious condition flaws, the image of Welch is bold, crisp, and centered to the right. As the first card of Welch issued by Old Judge, this card would also, by definition, qualify as his rookie card for most collectors. In addition to their enormous significance as the very first tobacco baseball card set, N167 Old Judges have always been recognized as extremely rare. The numbers speak for themselves: To date, only fifty-four examples from the series have ever been graded by PSA or SGC, including eight Welch examples, and we believe this number may actually be slightly inflated due to cards being crossed over from one company to another. Whatever the true number, N167s are rare! This is an outstanding example of the legendary Mickey Welch from one of the most condition-sensitive, important, and rarest issues in all of card collecting. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open).