1914 H813 Boston Garter Color Complete Set (12)

Price: $500,000

Yes, believe it or not, they’re all here. The pinnacle duo of Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb; the elite second tier of Walter Johnson and Tris Speaker; the bronze medalists Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Rabbit Maranville and Home Run Baker; and their still-rarefied cohorts Burt Shotten, Larry Doyle, Ed Konetchy and Buck Herzog.

Many of us never thought we’d live to see the day when all dozen 1914 Boston Garter Color cards would stand side by side in a single museum showcase, let alone be made publicly available at auction. Amassing the whole set always seemed like an out-of-reach dream, requiring prohibitive financial resources and unrelenting determination—both of which, thankfully, the Dreiers were willing to devote to their quest. They began by purchasing more than half of the issue at one time, and then methodically and aggressively over the years, bought up the remaining cards one by one.

Here was the “thrill of the chase” at its very best. Of the three Boston Garter productions, Chad and Doug chose to zero in on the 1914 Colors for two reasons: first, they preferred their dramatic in-uniform action poses over 1912’s awkward underwear images; and second, they found the luminous hues superior to the 1914 sepia series counterpart. Additionally, unlike the stand-alone 1888 Joseph Hall Cabinets, 1914 Boston Garter Colors were tailor-made for museum display because their presentation could be fleshed out with related Boston Garter advertising pieces and ephemera. Doug Dreier recalls that beyond the cornerstones of Jackson and Cobb, it was Speaker and Konetchy who remained two of the tail-end purchases, and Doyle who became the gratifying final piece in the puzzle. Maranville, however, may actually be the Holy Grail here, since to date, we’ve been unable to verify that any other example exists anywhere.

Consequently, no one else in the hobby annals has ever completed this set at one time! Why, it’s enough to knock your socks off…unless you’re wearing Boston Garters, that is. The popular sock suspenders predated elastic bands and were not only necessary, but fashionable as well, in ballparks across the country. Retailers received one 4” x 8-1/4” ballplayer window card with each dozen-count garter box, and they could also make written requests for more cards to the Beantown-based manufacturer, George Frost Co.

Due to their practical promo usage and unwieldy 4” x 8-1/4” size, Boston Garter Colors are closer to advertising display pieces than to typical cards, and their condition is often judged accordingly, with appropriate leeway. That is to say, sheer survival easily takes precedence over routine handling wear and surface toning.

The Dreiers’ offerings, however, average impressive overall VG/EX condition (some better, some lesser) with radiant color tones and phenomenal eye appeal—not to mention mind-blowing display impact when viewed all together as the one-and-only intact set.

Individual analysis reveals the following:

Tris Speaker
– Two edge chips, one edge crease, toning on reverse.

Ty Cobb
– Routine light edge rubbing, faint overall toning, upper-left color touches of a slightly different hue to ameliorate small surface breaks.

Burt Shotten
– A few small edge tears and faint discoloration spot at top edge. General perimeter wear and overall faint toning.

Joe Tinker
– Modest rubbing to corners and top edge. Bottom-center crease not breaking surface color.

Johnny Evers – Strong, attractive frontal appearance. Very slight edge wear, moderate peripheral toning on reverse.

Joe Jackson
– Typical slight corner wear, bottom-center crease not breaking color.

Rabbit Maranville – Consistent faint toning, minor edge rubbing/wear to front and back.

Larry Doyle – Light corner wear.

Frank Baker
– Small upper-right edge tear, subtle peripheral light toning, minor corner wear.

Ed Konetchy – Minor corner wear.

Walter Johnson – Top-center edge tear reaching Johnson’s cap, general marginal wear to front and reverse including tiny chips, paper loss, toning, rubbing.

Buck Herzog – Clean near-pristine appearance.

Price: $500,000