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Winning Bid:
$14,667.40 (Includes 18% Buyer's Premium)
Bidding Ended:
Tuesday, March 19, 2024 9:00:00 PM (20 Minute Clock Begins At Tuesday, March 19, 2024 9:00:00 PM)
Time Left:
Auction 240 Session #1
Value Code:
N - $10,000 to $20,000 Help Icon
Item Description
Presented here is one of the true rarities of the pre-war baseball card era, a card from a major nationally distributed set for which there are only a few known examples. Back in 1916, a large black and white photographic set of 200 baseball cards measuring 1-5/8x3", later designated as M101-5 in the American Card Catalogue, was produced and distributed by Felix Mendelsohn out of Chicago. Card fronts include a player photo, name, position, team and card number. Mendelsohn began actively marketing their M101-5 baseball card set in early 1916 to various types of local businesses, including food distributors, clothing stores and sporting goods companies as an advertising medium to promote their businesses. The popularity of this concept grew and ultimately, close to 20 different advertising backs are known to exist today. Before the majority of the advertising stamps made their way onto the card backs and only a couple of months later, an "updated" version of this 200 card series was produced containing primarily the same roster of players/images with some new additions and many card numbers changing. This second series of baseball cards would come to be identified in the ACC as M101-4, an oddity given that it actually was released after the M101-5's and given that card designations were usually handed out in chronological order.

Moving on to the card being offered here, one would never expect that a little used catcher from the Boston Red Sox named Forrest Cady would command one of the highest price tags from a baseball card series that includes the Babe Ruth rookie card along with other all-time greats, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Jim Thorpe and countless other Hall of Famers. So, there must be quite a story here and there certainly is. There were three players from the 1916 M101-5 card set that were pulled from production for unknown reasons very early during the printing process. One of these cards was initially issued as card #23 - Forrest Cady. Possibly because he was a less significant figure in baseball at the time as compared to many other ballplayers who were left off the checklist, the Forrest Cady was switched out and production going forward included card #23 as Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown, the great HOF pitcher from the Chicago Cubs. It is believed that over 90% of all card #23's that were produced depicted Brown as opposed to Cady. An even bigger mystery however, is why two different versions of the Cady card exist, one with the original card #23 printed at bottom and one with no card number printed at bottom. This is the only card from either the M101-5 or M101-4 set that has a no-number version. Although we have not been able to locate an explanation anywhere, it is our belief that during the transition of switching over card #23 from Cady to Brown, Mendelsohn tried to prevent any more duplicate card #23's from being printed and removed the card number for an ever so brief period of time until the Brown cards began production. As an aside, Forrest Cady also appears in the M101-4 set with various advertising backs and is card #25 in that set.  

Our research indicates that while any Forrest Cady card from the M101-5 set is exceedingly rare, the no number version is scarcer than the #23 card. Both of the two most recent examples of the Cady card to come to public auction were the #23 variety with one selling in 2016 for $8,962 and the second selling in 2020 for $23,400. We have not been able to locate any relevant public auction sales online for the no number version being offered here.

A solid grade for a card from this series and with a strong and distinct image. This rarity presents very nicely.

Who knows how long it might be before another one of these no number Forrest Cady cards comes up for sale again. For those looking to complete a master M101-5 set, this opportunity surely cannot be passed up.    
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