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1887 Four Base Hits John Clarkson Ready to Tantilize the Market

It's not every day you find an 1887 relic in a used book. But one couple found an 1887 Four Base Hits John Clarkson Card in an old Bible, being used as a bookmark. Turns out it's the only complete version to be graded in the market.

The beauty of this hobby is that you never know when and where a gem is going to turn up. Some finds include complete sets; others involve finding a single card that just so happens to be one of just a few known to exist.

The latest "find" story from Huggins and Scott is quite a yarn, and it's all true. The result is a card that is the only one graded of its kind on the market, and vintage card buffs will be battling it out in the Huggins and Scott auction that goes live Mar. 30.

Let's start with where this card was found.

Early in 2014 a couple from Montgomery County, Pa., trekked to a thrift store and purchased a group of used books dating back several decades. After returning home and leafing through each volume, a curious discovery was unveiled after generations of concealment. It was uncovered in a late 1800s edition of The Holy Bible and used by the original owner as a bookmark. The sepia trading card featured a portrait of a baseball player surnamed Clarkson along with the advertising slogan, “Smoke Four Base Hits, Four for 10 Cents”.


There it was: an 1887 Four Base Hits John Clarkson card. The card was graded by SGC (Fair, 20) and is not only the only example of its kind graded by SGC and also the only known complete example of this card known to exist. (The only confirmed PSA specimen is judged “Authentic” due to trimming.)

According to Huggins and Scott, "The 1887 Four Base Hits is as scarce as it is cherished by 19th-century hobbyists. A total of 17 subjects from the issue have been evaluated by both PSA and SGC with only eight Hall of Fame exemplars confirmed. The 15-card set (which may not be complete) measures 2-1/4 x 3-7/8" and is noted for its eye-catching presentation. Adding to the mystique of the 128 year-old issue is that the original manufacturer has yet to be determined."

Check out the full description of this card and the rest of the lots in the Huggins and Scott auction that runs from Mar. 30-April 9 HERE.