Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card brings $92,000 to Maine auction

It's not every day that a rare Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card from 1865 turns up at a yard sale, which accounts for the bids seen at a February 6 auction in Maine.

1865 Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card
The lot has been named as the earliest known baseball card to bear a date

The card, which shows the Brooklyn Atlantics amateur team, sold for $92,000. It is the earliest known "dated" baseball card in existence, discovered by a Maine native while rummaging through boxes in the small town of Baileyville.

However, it is not like the baseball cards that we know today, which did not reach true popularity until the 1880s. Instead, it bears an original photograph of the team gathered around their manager, which has then been affixed to card.

Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card
The title-winning Brooklyn Atlantics handed out the card to their opponents in a brilliant display of bravado

The Brooklyn Atlantics were the leading team of the 1860s and the card is believed to have been handed out not only to their supporters, but also to opposing teams as a way of boasting of their success.

The example at auction is one of two known to have survived, the other currently housed at the Library of Congress. The library obtained its copy in the latter half of the 19th century when the man behind the camera, Charles Williamson, submitted it for copyright.

Prior to the sale, the card was examined by Sportscard Guaranty who confirmed it as genuine.

Later this month, a New Jersey auction house will offer an EX-5 graded example of the world's most valuable baseball card - the T206 Honus Wagner.

Paul Fraser Collectibles continues to bring you the latest news on sports memorabilia collecting. We also have a superb range of sports memorabilia for sale, including this excellent vintage signed photograph of boxer James J Jeffries.

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