Heritage Auctions Presents Rare 1888-89 Baseball Tour Poster in Platinum Night Sale

Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night event is gearing up to showcase an extraordinary piece of baseball history: a poster from the 1888-89 Spalding Australian Baseball Tour. This rare artifact, one of only two known surviving posters, highlights a pivotal chapter in the sport’s evolution, allowing fans and collectors to delve into the world of barnstorming tours led by the legendary Albert G. Spalding. The tour, which occurred after the 1888 season, featured games between the Chicago White Stockings and an All America team assembled by Spalding himself.

Scheduled for February 24-25, Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night boasts nearly 2,800 items, with the 1888-89 baseball tour poster holding a significant position among the lots. The rarity and historical importance of this poster are emphasized by the fact that the other known copy is housed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Measuring an impressive 42 inches by 28 inches, the poster is hailed as “the most astonishing eight square feet of paper” ever presented at Heritage Auctions. Displaying images reminiscent of Old Judge and N284 Buchner Gold Coin cards, the poster showcases players who participated in the tour, including notable figures who would later be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Cap Anson, John Montgomery Ward, and Ned Hanlon.

The audacious Spalding planned the tour to promote baseball on a global scale, taking the teams through various countries, such as the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii), New Zealand, Ceylon, Egypt, Italy, France, and England, before concluding with games in Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Ballarat. The logistical challenge of the journey was immense, with Spalding investing $30,000 of his own money and receiving an endorsement from President Grover Cleveland.

This ambitious campaign not only aimed to showcase baseball’s widespread appeal but also solidify its status as America’s game. The tour gained significant attention and culminated in a festive banquet at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City upon the teams’ return.

Beyond its historical value, the poster provides a fascinating window into the early years of professional baseball and its attempts to capture a global audience. With an estimated value of $100,000, it represents a rare opportunity for collectors to own a tangible piece of the sport’s illustrious past.

Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night sale is an event that avid baseball fans and memorabilia collectors eagerly anticipate. With its eclectic mix of items spanning from the era of Old Judge cards to the current achievements of players like Aaron Judge, the sale offers something for everyone. However, the highlight undoubtedly lies in the inclusion of the remarkable 1888-89 baseball tour poster, a symbol of baseball’s growth and enduring popularity.

For those who appreciate the rich history of baseball and the allure of owning unique artifacts, the Platinum Night sale is an event not to be missed. The chance to acquire such a remarkable piece of history is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as this poster represents the spirit of baseball’s journey to becoming a global phenomenon. So mark your calendars and get ready to bid for a chance to own a rare piece of baseball history.