Rare 1865 baseball card to beat $100,000 in Maine auction?

An incredibly rare baseball card from 1865 is to be offered at a February 6 auction in Maine, following a spectacular find at a yard sale on the Canadian border.

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

Showing the 1865 Brooklyn Atlantics amateur team, the card is expected to see bids in the region of least $100,000. It was discovered by a Maine native, who chanced upon it while rummaging through boxes in the small town of Baileyville.

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

1865 Brooklyn Atlantics baseball card
The card has been named as the earliest dated baseball card

The Brooklyn Atlantics were among the leading teams of the 1860s and the card is believed to have been handed out to their supporters and opposing teams to celebrate their success. It is recorded in the Library of Congress' book Baseball Americana as the first dated baseball card.

There are just two examples known to have survived, the other currently housed at the Library of Congress. The library got its copy in the latter half of the 19th century, when the man behind the camera, Charles Williamson, submitted it for copyright.

The example at auction has recently been examined by Sportscard Guaranty, who confirmed it as genuine.

The news follows the announcement that a New Jersey auction house will be offering an example of the world's most valuable baseball card - the T206 Honus Wager - as part of its February auction.

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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