Amazing 1889 Old Judge N172 Ed Delahanty Rookie Card "123-1 Bat at Ready by Right Shoulder" Pose (PSA 5.5) – "1 of 1" & HIGHEST GRADED Example!
Little did the Goodwin & Company tobacco manufacturer realize that when they inserted more than 500 different baseball player cards in their tobacco brand packs to promote their Old Judge Cigarette brands from 1887-1890, these cards would ultimately become the pinnacle 19th century cardboard collectibles. Interestingly enough, elite Old Judge enthusiasts are more concerned with the aesthetic quality of the real photographic sepia-toned images (pasted on the stiff "blank back" cardboard) than the professionally assigned grade. Many of the Old Judge cards in circulations portray very light contrast whereby in some cases it is extremely difficult to view image details. Yet, some of these "lightly contrasted" cards have been awarded high grades since their other technical attributes meet the specified criteria (e.g., surface, corners, edging, etc.).
Bottom line is the most sophisticated Old Judge collectors are constantly seeking the finest image photography, and this miraculous PSA 5.5 Ed Delahanty "123-1 Bat at Ready by Right Shoulder" ROOKIE CARD (as presented in the renowned "Photographic Cards of Goodwin & Company" periodical) arguably stands as the most aesthetically brilliant example extant. Furthermore, its virtually unparalleled near-perfect image easily supports the stellar "EX+" assessment that just happens to place this world-class gem as the SOLE and HIGHEST GRADED "Bat at Ready" Delahanty N172 Old Judge on the planet! While its "1 of 1" and highest graded status is impressive, the assigned grade in this case is far less prevalent as opposed to the "awe-inspiring" Delahanty central image that simply defies logic via its immaculate contrast. Safely tucked away to avoid any photographic fading and/or damage for the past 129 years, this time defying marvel is the perfect testament for this immortal Hall of Famer.
Ed Delahanty's stature as possibly the most sought after 19th century Cooperstown Inductee on a cardboard issue is not only related to his incomparable batting prowess but the manner in which he tragically passed away. In only 15 seasons, "Big Ed" accumulated almost 2,600 hits, batted over .400 three times, finished his career with an astonishing .346 lifetime batting average and also owns the rare distinction of winning a batting title in both the National (Phillies) and American (Senators) Leagues. Unfortunately, his career ended in tragedy when in 1903, after allegedly drinking too much, stumbled off a train crossing over Niagara Falls and plunged to his untimely death. Yet, synonymous to Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente, Delahanty's tragic death has solidified his hallowed legacy, forever linking him with baseball immortality. Synonymous with Delahanty's remarkable batting prowess is the supreme eye appeal of his inaugural 1889 issued "Batting" pose that exhibits unparalleled contrast and clarity.
It is an excruciating task to locate Old Judge N172 subjects emulating perfect contrast, but fortunately for the future winning bidder, the image quality of this museum worthy photograph stands as the "best of the best". Astonishing as it may seem, Delahanty's bat still remains bright white, reflecting no toning whatsoever along with his period style cap and uniform. The print quality beneath this sanctified batting pose is likewise bold and vivid, with the image atypically exhibiting near-perfect centering between four super clean borders. The corners still reflect a majority of their original square formations (with only modest wear), no glaring surface flaws are evident and the blank back is relatively clean. In summary, Delahanty's unfathomable image aesthetics are "second to none", with this true PSA "1 of 1" and HIGHEST GRADED Delahanty "123-1 Batting" rookie card meriting a final resting place in one of the most esteemed 19th century collections!
MIN BID $2,000