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

Among all the dazzling tobacco advertising produced before the first world war, none are as visually stunning as the circa 1910 Tuxedo brand series featuring portraits of three of the best baseball players of the day. And among this series, the most sought after are those featuring New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson. In 1910, there was no ballplayer in the country as admired and widely recognized as Mathewson. At this point in his career, Matty had won the pitching Triple Crown twice, led the National League in wins four times and strikeouts five times. He pitched the Giants to a World Championship in 1905 and won thirty or more games four times. In short, when his portrait graced the Tuxedo brand advertising, Christy Mathewson was at the very pinnacle of his career.

Like Walter Johnson and John McGraw, the other players in the series, Matty’s portrait was featured in several different formats, including a horizontal trolly sign and print advertisements for newspapers and magazines. However, Matty’s likeness was used on additional advertising pieces. Of these, the 11 x 15” tobacco box is perhaps the more attractive due to its vertical format and lack of intrusive advertising slogans. With the graphics boldly consisting of Matty’s portrait and the elegant Tuxedo script logo set against a glowing golden yellow background, the Tuxedo box is one of the hobby’s most sought after pieces of ephemera.

With that said, the piece offered here goes beyond the aesthetic beauty and desirability of a regular Mathewson Tuxedo box: this is a one-of-a-kind printing proof. As they do in the present day, printers will run several versions of a piece to adjust the colors and registration before the full press run is ordered. Normally, all the defective proofs are discarded except for the one deemed to be acceptable and which all subsequent prints will be compared. As a proof, there are several things that are present on the piece that the final versions do not have, some of which can be seen on this example. These include notations in the white border along the lower left edge and the presence of extra crop marks which are used to align the correct registration of the colors. These unique markings give this piece its character and enhance its appeal as a one-of-a-kind piece.
Because this piece was likely filed away after the print run was complete, the colors are clean and bright with very little of the wear that is normally found on the regular production pieces. The piece has been attractively matted and professionally framed to fully exhibit the captivating charisma of the art. Presents in MINT condition.  This piece would be the crowning glory and centerpiece of any museum, memorabilia room or office full of trophies, as it was when it was owned and displayed in Super Collector Barry Halper's home, as is seen in the accompanying photo. Since this stunning piece was hung in Halper's home the frame, matting and protective glass were all nicely upgraded by our consignor and it is now even more appealing than it was then. Just take at look at that photograph of spectacular memorabilia and see what one item jumps out at you. The extreme rarity and visual beauty of this piece truly makes it the Mona Lisa of all advertising displays.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $9,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $19,134
Number Bids:7
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