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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 6/5/2022

Beginning with the founding of the National League in 1876, baseball’s popularity grew exponentially every summer, and it was only a matter of time before advertising companies took notice. Soon the best players in the game were giving their endorsement to everything from hardware to candy. However, no product has become as intertwined with the game’s formative years as tobacco. By the turn of the century dozens of tobacco companies featured newspaper advertisements, packaging, posters, and trading cards that featured the likenesses of professional ballplayers. And while it is the small baseball cards that are the most plentiful in the hobby today, the most attractive and sought after pieces are the larger trolley advertising posters. These horizontal posters were designed to fit into the ad spaces above the interior windows of trolley and subway cars. Most tobacco companies produced versions of trolley ads, but none were as eye-catching as those put out by the Tuxedo company during the 1910 period.

For their series of trolley ads, Tuxedo chose a trio of players who have become legends of the game: manager John McGraw and pitchers Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Of the three, the Walter Johnson is the hardest to find today. The reason or reasons why are not definitively known, but it may be because while Mathewson and McGraw were well into their Hall of Fame careers in 1910, Walter Johnson was just beginning his. In fact, 1910, the estimated date Tuxedo produced these pieces, Johnson was just in his fourth season of big league ball. While he showed tremendous promise in previous years, 1910 was his breakout year, posting the first of ten consecutive seasons of 20 or more wins. Twice during that stretch he would surpass the 30 win mark and five times he would lead the American League in wins. Simply put, while Matty and McGraw were already at the peak of their powers, Walter Johnson was just beginning to demonstrate his.

Walter Johnson’s trolley sign features a stunning portrait of the young phenom, his blue eyes complimenting the golden yellow background and warm grey of his road uniform. Measuring 21" wide by 11" tall, the piece has a testimonial from Johnson stating, “It is the best tobacco I have ever smoked,” along with his facsimile signature. An illustration of the tobacco tin and red script Tuxedo logo completes this eye-stopping trolley ad. The piece shows wear from use and age. There is some surface wear visible in the top left corner as well as some staining in the top right section. There are numerous creases and light staining throughout, but this does not distract from the visual beauty of this piece. This piece has been enhanced by it having been professionally matted and framed in UV glass and presents in Near Mint condition, the finest we've seen. A wonderful example of the most difficult to find Tuxedo trolley ads.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $37,610
Number Bids:20
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