E97 Briggs

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E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:54 am

This relatively rare set remains a mystery in several ways almost 100 years after its issue (circa 1909-10) by the Briggs Co., lozenge-makers in Boston Mass.

One of the biggest mysteries concerns the exceedingly rare black and white versions of these cards. Some have called them "proofs", while others argue these black and white cards lack fundamental characteristics of "proof" cards. These cards deserve their own separate consideration. (I will note here my belief that the black and white cards were printed early and as far as the E97 variations go, the B&W set contains only the early/incorrect variations - see below for more on the variations. So that would mean for the 3 name spelling errors, the B&W versions would always be the incorrect ones: Dolan, Hartsell, and Steinfeld. And for the 3 team variations, the B&W versions would always be: Sullivan (BOS), Young (BOS) and Nichols (PHI). I have never seen any of the later/corrected variations in B&W.)

Within the regular color E97 set, there are other mysteries. Why does the set contain only 2 (possibly 3...see comment on Cy Young) Hall of Famers in its selection of 30 players? Since it is well-established that the "Cy Young" card is actually graced with the image of Irving Melrose Young - a peer of Denton "Cy" Young - who confusingly was known to have the nicknames "Cy the Second" and "Young Cy Young", can the Young card in this set really be called a Cy Young card? Or was it always intended to be an Irving Young card? Irving Young was still pitching for Boston (NL) in 1908...

The set also features seven variations that I am aware of (see checklist below). One of these variations, the Boston AL version of the Sullivan card, was referred to in 1984 by Lew Lipset as "truly rare", and has been called one of the rarest cards in the hobby. In the past two years (approximately), I am aware of 2 copies of this card that have sold at auction (one copy sold twice, creating a total of three transactions). Both were graded VG by SGC. Each sold for roughly $4,000.00.

One was sold by Mastro, and in the writeup on that card, there was an indication that SGC had graded 18 of this card. But the card in the Mastro auction itself revealed the unreliability of this figure. The Mastro card had no indication on the SGC flip that this card was the Boston variation. See: http://mastronet.com/?action=DisplayContent&ContentName=Lot%20Information&LotIndex=80646&LastLotListing=Lot+List+Sports&CurrentRow=861

(Not to pick on SGC...this is an illustration of but one of the many problems with relying upon grading populations reports as any sort of accurate information about rarity of cards...but I digress...).

The other Sullivan, auctioned by Huggins and Scott clearly is labelled as the rare Boston variation. See: http://www.sgccard.com/pricesrealized/index.php?level=picture&id=574

The 2009 REA auction adds some more market data on E97. The above-noted H&S Sullivan was re-auctioned in the 2009 REA auction: http://bid.robertedwardauctions.com/bidplace.aspx?itemid=11603 (it sold for $3231.25 including buyer's premium - down about $700 from the H&S sale of the same card).

In 2004, Mastro sold a complete set of E97 plus Young and Sullivan Boston variations from the Richard Egan collection for $21,916.00.

In 2007, Robert Edward Auctions sold a "complete set" of 30 E97 cards (without the Sullivan Boston AL variation) for $17,625.00. Quite a price, considering the lack of HOF power. REA indicated it was the first time in 30 years they had offered an E97 set. See: http://www.robertedwardauctions.com/auction/2007/241.html

The 2009 REA auction also offered a part-set of E97 (22 of 30 cards), but missing key HOF cards (Kelly and Keeler) and the scarce/rare variations: http://bid.robertedwardauctions.com/bidplace.aspx?itemid=11600 (it sold for $3818.75).

The 2010 REA auction featured a complete SGC-graded set of E97 (30 cards) without the usual variations, but with 2 of the black-and-white cards and an uncatalogued variation of Devore where there are no period between the N and Y in the team designation: http://bid.robertedwardauctions.com/bidplace.aspx?itemid=13303 (it sold for $22,932.00).

In August 2006, Mastro auctioned a complete set of E97 Briggs on "uncut" panels, which gives us an idea of how these cards were printed. The set was found on 3 sheets. Sheet #1 had 2 rows of 6 cards in a row (12 cards). Sheet #2 was in the same format as Sheet #1 (12 cards). Sheet #3 was a single row of 6 cards. As far as the 6 variations in the set are concerned, this sheet set contained: (1) Nichols with CLE, (2) Steinfeldt spelled correctly, (3) Young with CLE, (4) Sullivan with CHI, (5) Doolan spelled correctly, and (6) Hartsel spelled correctly.


Here are the cards in the color E97 set:

Jimmy Austin, NY (AL)
Joe Birmingham, Cle (AL)
Bill Bradley, Cle (AL)
Kitty Bransfield, Phil (NL)
Howie Camnitz, Pitt (NL)
Bill Carrigan, Bos (AL)
Harry Davis, Phil (AL)
*Josh Devore, NY (NL) - variation found with no periods between N and Y
*Mickey Dolan - name incorrect (very few known to exist), and Mickey Doolan - name correct, Phil (NL)
Bull Durham, NY (NL)
Jimmy Dygert, Phil (AL)
*Topsy Hartsell - name incorrect, and Topsy Hartsel - name correct, Phil (AL)
Bill Heinchman (Hinchman), Cle (AL)
Charlie Hemphill, NY (AL)
Wee Willie Keeler, NY (NL)
Joe Kelly (Kelley), Bos (NL)
Red Kleinow, NY (AL)
Rube Kroh, Chi (NL)
Matty McIntyre, Det (AL)
Amby McConnell, Bos (AL)
Chief Meyers, NY (NL)
Earl Moore, Phil (NL)
George Mullin, Det (AL)
Red Murray, NY (NL)
*Simon Nichols (Nicholls) A. Phil (AL), and B. Cle (AL)
Claude Rossman, Det (AL)
Admiral Schlei, NY (NL)
*Harry Steinfeld - name incorrect, and Harry Steinfeldt - name correct, Chi (NL)
*Dennis Sullivan, A. Chi (AL) and B. Bos (AL)
*Cy (actually Irving) Young, A. Cle (AL) and B. Bos (NL)


Pictured below is my E97 Sullivan, Boston AL variation. Note that there is some misinformation on the internet to the effect that the Sullivan Boston variation is only found in the black and white version of E97. That is false.



Cheers,
Blair


Last edited by Bosox Blair on Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:57 pm; edited 23 times in total
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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:00 am

Here is my E97 Carrigan:

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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:01 am

Here is my E97 McConnell:

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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:04 am

Here is the reverse of an E97 card - checklist prnted in brown - clear type at bottom indicating Briggs as issuer:

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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by fisherboy7 on Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:07 pm

Thanks for that very informative post, Blair! Great set too.

Here's one of my favorite cards ever, the e97 Keeler. Unfortunately it doesn't belong to me (it's from caramel-cards.com). I'm still hunting for a nice example of this card.


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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by bowlingshoeguy on Sat Mar 21, 2009 6:06 pm

Here is Bradley:



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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Sun May 03, 2009 11:48 pm

On the left here is the Sullivan Chicago variation (improperly identified by SGC as the rare Boston variation...see comment in original post re the perils of using pop reports to ascertain rarity).

On the right is the rare E97 B&W Sullivan.

It has been noted by other authors, including Lew Lipset, that the print on the Sullivan Chicago variation - and on a few other variations - is larger than the print on most other E97s. This leads many observers to believe that the larger-type variations are the "fixed" (later issued) variations.


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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by Bosox Blair on Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:23 am

Just got this Topsy Hartsell (spelling variation with two Ls - incorrect). The SCD guide puts this as more expensive than the corrected one L variation. Yet the SGC Registry weights the corrected version much higher...

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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by cccc on Thu May 20, 2010 7:08 pm

blair imo the hartsell is a classic case of politiking going on with some collectors and the grading co/set registries. i've known about the 2 lL hartsell for about 6-7 years...long before most collectors put too much thought into it. when i bought mine from tbob he didn't make any special note of it. i do believe it's tougher than the 1 L, but no where near the value some people are trying to hype it up like the sully. i think one collector was trying to hoard it and the same person requested SGC to weight the card. i've had at least 3 pass through my hand in like a 2 years span so don't believe the hype.

(lots of ramblings but i'm trying to eat hot noodles while typing randomly)
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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by ullmandds on Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:56 am

here's my nichols, clev...to go with my b/w nichols, phil...I need the nichols, phil color for the trifecta...I should have bought it at the 95' nat'l when I had the chance...it's a toughie!
[img][/img]
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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by ullmandds on Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:07 am

I guess I have this murray too...I'v always been drawn to these sets!
[img][/img]
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Re: E97 Briggs

Post by cccc on Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:59 am

imo in high grades (EX+) the e97s are the prettiest out of the 1910's caramels. they glisten and have a glow to them.
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Re: E97 Briggs

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