Jake Virtue Collection offered in SCP Auctions’ sale

From the estate collection of former Cleveland Spiders player Jake Virtue comes a selection of 19th century cabinet photos, including two of Cy Young.

The first is a one-of-a-kind rookie-era cabinet photo of Young. Possibly the first image ever produced of Young in a major league uniform, the crystal clear, window-like photograph captures Young as he poses in a formal studio setting. The photographer’s credit, “John H. Ryder – Cleveland, Ohio,” appears both on the base of the mount and reverse. This specific image of Young has been seen on a rare 1891 Cleveland Spiders team composite baseball schedule display, dating its origin to his first full season in professional baseball and warranting possible consideration as his rookie issue.

The second Young card is one of only two known examples of his circa 1893 Cleveland Spiders Pifer & Becker Cabinet Photo. Both examples have originated from the personal collections of former Spiders players. The other example once belonged to Cy Young himself and the offered example comes from the estate of former Spiders player Jake Virtue. While Young’s example bore his signature, the presented example is in far superior condition that is almost unfathomable for its existence of more than a century-and-a-quarter. From the crystal clear image to the gold gilt edges of the 4-1/8” by 6-1/2” mount, the entire piece demonstrates the highest standards of photographic quality and presentation possible from the era. This cabinet, along with the five other Pifer & Becker cabinets in the Jake Virtue Collection featured in this auction bear the same images featured in one of the nineteenth-century collecting world’s holy grail card issues, the 1893 Just So Tobacco card set. All Just So Tobacco cards, which exclusively feature Cleveland Spiders players, are exceedingly rare. It has been estimated that fewer than 25 examples in total are known in the entire collecting world, with 14 different players represented. The matching images of these cabinets with their Just So counterparts leaves no doubt that these cabinets are the parents of that revered issue.

The other Cleveland Spiders Pifer & Becker cabinets from the Jake Virtue Collection that are being offered include: circa 1993 John Clarkson, circa 1893 Ed McKean, circa 1893 Tom Williams, circa 1893 George Davies, and circa 1893 Chief Zimmer.

Other items from the Jake Virtue Collection include: circa 1891-92 George Davis (John H. Ryder Cabinet Photo), circa 1893 Ed McKean (T. Waldon Smith Cabinet Photo signed by McKean on reverse side), circa 1893 Cleveland Spiders team photo featuring Cy Young, 1887 Detroit Wolverines World Champions Team Cabinet, and Jake Virtue’s 1890 and 1891 Cleveland Spider’s player contracts.

Bidding ends March 24.

For a complete listing of all the auction lots in the SCP Auctions’ current auction, visit: www.scpauctions.com.

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