Extremely Rare 1914 "Color" Boston Garter – Frank Baker (PSA 1) – The ONLY Known Frank Baker Example & the ONLY PSA Encapsulated 1914 "Color" Boston Garter!
If you are seeking one of Frank "Home Run" Baker's most elusive cardboard mementos or one of the hobby's rarest "type" cards, look no further, for this unfathomable PSA 1 1914 "Color" Boston Garter Frank Baker offering stands as the SOLE known Frank Baker subject on the planet! Furthermore, it just happens to reside as the only PSA encapsulated specimen for ALL of the 12 possible subjects. Most significantly, it should be noted that while the SGC Census report also lists a single SGC 1 Baker specimen, that is the EXACT SAME example being presented here, with this offering recently crossed over to the new oversized PSA holder and never removed from the SGC "pop" chart. Therefore, to the best of our knowledge, this elite masterpiece truly stands as the SOLE Frank Baker 1914 Boston Garter, easily placing it as one of his most obscure and exalted baseball card keepsakes.
Hall of Famer Frank "Home Run" Baker achieved both immortality and his iconic "Home Run" nickname when he belted home runs on successive days in the 1911 World Series against future Cooperstown inductees Rube Marquard and Christy Mathewson. Ironically, the 1911 season also saw Baker's 11 round trippers lead the American League, with the star-third baseman continuing down that path by pacing the Junior Circuit in homers the next two seasons (1912 & 1913). Baker also achieved lifetime fame by being a member of Connie Mack's legendary $100,000 infield that included fellow stars Eddie Collins, Jack Barry and Stuffy McInnis. Synonymous with his revered "on the field" achievements is this "one of a kind" rarity that clearly stands as one of the hobby's most amazing type cards extant! Trying to find any Boston Garter subject is similar to the renowned expression "trying to find a needle in a haystack". Seldom surfacing for the taking, the oversized Boston Garters were manufactured by the George Frost Company of Boston, Mass.
Three separate issues were distributed to retailers from 1912 thru 1914 with the ultra-obscure 1914 color issue including 12 different player subjects. Created for the sole purpose of advertising the George Frost Company's Boston Garters, retailers would receive one card per box of dozen garters, and had the option of writing to the company for the complete set. The cards measure approximately 4" x 8 ¼" and were most likely oversized since the manufacturer solicited retailers to place them in their store windows as a promotional tool for their Boston Garter brand. The obverse side depicts brilliant lithographic player images within a baseball field shaped diamond, with a picture of the company's Boston Garter product directly below the player's name. The verso reveals a 12-subject checklist, statistics for the player represented on the card, and various advertisement features throughout the lower half of the card.
Undoubtedly, the extreme rarity of this iconic type issue stems from the fact these cards were never released to the general public, but only to the scant Boston Garter retailers. The illustrious history of the George Frost Company can be traced back to the late 1880's, when George Frost, Jr. took over the family's ladies furnishings business founded by his father. The younger Frost expanded the family business and took advantage of the company's high visibility location at 551 Tremont Street, where it had moved after a fire in the 1870's. It was Frost who helped pioneer the Boston Garter, which revolutionized men's clothing. In an era previous to the typical elastic socks utilized today, the endeavor of keeping one's socks up was a seemingly impossible task, with the newly created Boston Garters immediately changing that painstaking notion. In the early 20th century, the Red Stockings Club established themselves as Boston folk heroes, and Frost clearly understood the value of tying his product to our National Pastime.
The company's retail location on Tremont Street featured renowned window displays showcasing the greatest players of the day, strongly endorsing the Boston Garter product. Conceptually speaking, if the Garter was good enough for iconic diamond heroes such as "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson and Frank Baker (just to mention a few), then the general public should have no issues whatsoever proudly boasting their Boston Garters on a routine basis. The 12 subjects included in the 1914 color issue comprise 7 Hall of Famers and the immortal "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, with the highly coveted Cooperstown inductees being Ty Cobb (also presented in this auction), Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker and Frank "Home Run" Baker.
Ultra-rare, only a handful of these subjects have managed to survive over the past 105 years, with this "one of a kind" renowned offering standing alone as the sole Frank Baker survivor. Like most cardboard rarities, the PSA 1 technical assessment is rendered virtually irrelevant due to its extreme paucity level and stellar central image aesthetics. Obviously, the technical assessment is due to the upper left corner chip (missing stock) and a modest surface abrasion, yet the remainder of the card provides superb "VG+" eye appeal including a breathtaking central image. Simply stated, forget the grade folks, because the mere sight of this "unique" museum worthy artifact is reason enough to "break the bank"!
Baker's classic throwing image still retains a majority of its original robust color and crystal-clear resolution, with its richly hued diamond shaped background, vivid advertisement typography and baseball graphics likewise revealing no major flaws. The eloquent plum purple Boston Garter also has outdistanced "Father Time", with the Frank Baker central image revealing an almost "3-D" like quality and completely stealing the show. The lower left quadrant indicates an area of mild soiling and the verso's checklist, Baker statistics and additional Boston Garter advertisement remain intact. Only some peripheral surface wrinkles and areas of mild soiling/toning exist on both sides, and most would agree that save the upper left corner chip, this resides as one of the more formidable Boston Garter examples with respect to overall visual appeal. Extraordinary to say the least, it proudly resides s the only known 1914 Boston Garter Frank "Home Run" Baker subject, more than justifying any elite enthusiast to claim ownership of this "unique" museum worthy heirloom that has miraculously withstood the test of time!
MIN BID $5,000