Here’s something interesting to ponder this morning, while you’re having your coffee. The other day, an unidentified man in Northern Maine, found an original Brooklyn Atlantics Baseball card from 1865 at a local yard sale. Apparently the man bought the card while buying a photo album and other sundries, according to an article from David Brown of Yahoo’s The Big League Stew. That card is scheduled to be put up for auction next month, after the man sold it to the Saco River Auction Company. I love Baseball history, and love old Baseball cards. I especially love old Dodger cards, and this could be considered not only the first Baseball card documented, but the first Dodger card as well.
The Brooklyn Atlantics were the beginnings of Professional Baseball in Brooklyn. The original Atlantics team played from 1857 up until 1875. Now when I say the original Atlantics because there was a second Brooklyn Atlantics Baseball club that played during the 1880’s which later became the Brooklyn Dodgers. The first Atlantics actually won several championships during this era. Some of the best players of that time on the Brooklyn Atlantics were Joe Start, Lip Pike, and Bob Ferguson among others.
The original Atlantics Baseball team was not invited to join the National League when it formed in 1876. They were invited to join the American Association, but were unable to meet the requirements to field a team. Instead they played in an independent league for the next few years up until around 1882 when they finally disbanded. Around that time the Brooklyn Grays were forming, which eventually became the next Brooklyn Atlantics, which became the Brooklyn Bridegrooms, and eventually the Dodgers.
The card that was found is being referred to as the first dated Baseball card. Apparently it’s an actual photo mounted on the card. The photo features ten players from the Atlantics, including their manager seated in the center holding a bat. The card was dated from 1865, and is believed to be authentic. Only one other is known to be in existence, which is held by the library of congress after it was submitted by the original photographer Charles Williamson. According to Brown, the card was a promotional stunt during the days when Brooklyn was winning championships left and right. (sounds kind of nice doesn’t it?)
The man who found the card at the yard sale, sold it to the Saco River Auction Co. The card is scheduled to be auctioned on February 6, and is expected to fetch upwards of 100,000 dollars. The Saco River Company has experience in the past auctioning off old Baseball cards from the late 1800′s. Last year they auctioned off an 1872 card of Michael King Kelly, which was sold for 72,000 dollars. It’s good to hear that the card wasn’t left in a storage locker. Otherwise we may be hearing Dave Hester bid on it with his signature “Yuuuuuuuup!” As a matter of fact , you never know. It just goes to show you, never throw out your old Baseball cards.