Graded GOOD+ 2.5 by SGC (submitted by REA). Exceedingly rare CDV-style trade card of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team. This example is entirely new to the modern collecting world! The offered card was recently discovered in the New England area by a non-collector. 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 trade card near the top of the short list. In addition to being one of card collecting's great rarities, it has a unique historical significance as it features the very first professional baseball team: the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Led by Harry and George Wright, the Red Stockings toured the nation and went undefeated for ninety-two consecutive games. Because of their dominance, the team was a legend in its own day, though at the time, of course, no one could have imagined the impact it would have on the game. Just two years later the National Association, baseball's first all-professional league, was formed in large part because of the success of the Red Stockings. Shortly thereafter, in 1876, the National Association gave way to the National League, and baseball officially became big business. By any definition, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings trade card 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."
There are several different styles of 1869 Red Stockings team cards known, all featuring the same photograph but displaying slightly different mounts. The smaller CDV style has been found with several different backs, but most are blank-backed. This is a very unusual variety, with the team name appearing under the team image on the mount ("RED STOCKING B. B. CLUB OF CINCINNATI") and all players (G. Wright, H. Wright, Allison, Brainard, Gould, Waterman, Leonard, Sweasy, McVey, and Hurley) identified on the reverse (both extremely desirable design elements that are not shared by all 1869 Cincinnati Reds team CDVs). It is also important to note that 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 exceptional, far above average, and allows for all the "C" logos on the uniforms to be clearly seen with the naked eye. Furthermore, the text on the reverse remains bold and legible. The mount (approximately 3-15/16 by 2-3/8 inches) displays honest corner wear, light creasing, and minor toning on the reverse. This is an outstanding example of the highly prized 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV that would be an extremely important addition to any world-class historical baseball collection and an extremely significant highlight in any advanced collection of nineteenth-century cards. Reserve $10,000.