Ed Delahanty 1894 Honest Duke N142 Cabinet (SGC VG/EX 4) – "SGC 1 of 1"; Highest Graded Example on the Planet!
In 1894, the New York based Duke Company produced what are arguably, the most visually striking 19th century cabinet cards to promote their "Honest Tobacco" brand. Measuring 6" x 9 ½", these museum worthy masterpieces consist of ultra-thick cardboard stock and include breathtaking color lithographs of four popular 19th century stars. Unquestionably, the most prestigious of the four players is the majestic Hall of Famer Ed Delahanty in what is his most appealing cardboard subject issued in either century. Virtually never surfacing for the taking, the "Honest Duke" Delahanty N142 cabinet card has eluded even the most elite enthusiasts, who carefully watch for the next available specimen. Well, as luck would have it, the "Queen Mary" has now arrived, as we are proud to offer this seldom seen artifact in what is the hobby's foremost example, a miraculous SGC VG/EX 4 memento.
Currently, SGC lists only 7 encapsulated Delahanty's with PSA listing only a single "VG/EX 4" specimen. While that total "8" count confirms its ultra-rarity, even more impressive is that this extraordinary VG/EX offering just happens to share the spotlight with the aforementioned PSA 4 Delahanty as the HIGHEST GRADED example on the planet! So why is this Delahanty cabinet coveted by a hoard of 19th century enthusiasts? First & foremost, it represents the incomparable "Big Ed" who just might reside as the most coveted 19th century Hall of Famer (with all due respect to Cap Anson and Buck Ewing). In 15 seasons+, Delahanty accumulated 2,597 hits, batted over .400 three times and finished his career with a sensational .346 lifetime batting average. He 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 drinking too much, he allegedly stumbled off a train crossing over Niagara Falls and plunged to his untimely death. Yet, synonymous to the immortal Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente, Delahanty's tragic death has practically solidified his sanctified legacy, forever branding him as a baseball icon with an eternal resting place in Cooperstown, New York.
The additional argument for capturing one of these hallowed Honest Duke Delahanty cabinets is that while there are a handful of other Delahanty issues to choose from (Old Judge, Mayo Cut Plug, W600 cabinet, etc.), they simply cannot compete against the aesthetic brilliance of his ultra-colorful Honest Duke Cabinet that suffices as one of the few 19th century cabinet issues utilizing colored hues for their player images. Considering this Delahanty cabinet is now 126 years old, the eye appeal of the sparkling central image is miraculous to say the least. The critical portrait pose appears as pristine as its original production date, depicting a spectacular array of grey, red and light green hues that vividly define Delahanty's timeless image.
The edging has remained intact, and no obtrusive creasing and/or surface blemishes are evident. Accounting for the technical grade is the negligible ink remnant near the upper left edge and an upper right corner diminutive crease, with both of these modest flaws rendered virtually irrelevant versus the card's outstanding aesthetics. Only minimal edge/corner wear is noted, with the four corners exhibiting a super eye pleasing uniformity. The final compliments are the relatively clean surfaces, the bold "Honest – E.J. DELEHANTY – NEW YORK" verbiage situated along the lower border (misspelled "Delehanty"), and a blank flipside free of any glaring blemishes. Of utmost significance, Delahanty's awe-inspiring central image is a magnificent testament to baseball's storied past, truly worthy of a final resting place in Cooperstown, New York. One of the most breathtaking cards from any century, its "highest graded" stature, unquestionable paucity level (only 8 encapsulated examples) and absolutely brilliant "Big Ed" illustration all combine to place this 19th century "Holy Grail" as one of the most momentous cabinets in the hobby!
MIN BID $3,000