The Most Complete Collection of 1898 Cameo Pepsin Gum Pins (109)—Featuring the Set’s Entire Roster of 16 Hall of Famers
When Legendary Auctions first visited the Dreier Museum, we could hardly believe our eyes at the sight of row after row of Cameo Pepsin Gum pins—and an unfathomable representation of Hall of Famers. Typically, if survivors of this condition-sensitive issue reach the auction block at all, they’re the lesser-known names in low to mid-grade and they’re offered individually. The rare Cooperstown inductee inevitably commands thousands of dollars. Indeed, to put the scarcity and desirability of Cameo Pepsins into perspective, only twice over the past decade have we had the opportunity to present large groupings: In 2009, a selection of 20 pins with one HOFer (Nichols) sold for $9,000; and in 2008, a hoard of 64 pins with two HOFers (Nichols and Ewing) topped out at $87,000.
Therefore, we were understandably astounded to discover that the Dreiers had cobbled together a total of 109 Cameo Pepsins featuring each and every one of the 16 Hall of Famers! (Plus perhaps the sole inclusion of Native American trailblazer Louis Sockalexis on any contemporary pin or card issue.) Not only was this the definitive mother lode (comprising over three-quarters of the set’s entire checklist), but for a celluloid issue notoriously vulnerable to the effects of fading, crazing and foxing, these impressive exemplars had been scrupulously selected for their aesthetic appeal.
Only about half of the 1-1/4” pins show some degree of routine image fading, and just a small percentage exhibit surface crazing or foxing. In addition, 90% retain their original back-paper advertisements—either specifically for the confectioner Cameo Pepsin Gum or generically for the famed pin manufacturing firm Whitehead & Hoag. Overall condition of the collection averages a stellar EX/MT, with the breakdown of Hall of Famers and notables as follows:
NM/MT w/back-paper - Billy Hamilton (NM/MT+), Louis Sockalexis, Bobby Wallace
NM w/back-paper - Jesse Burkett, Dummy Hoy (fading), Hughie Jennings, Cy Young
NM w/o back-paper - Ed Delahanty (two crazing lines), Buck Ewing, Kid Nichols
EX/MT w/back-paper - Hugh Duffy (foxing), Connie Mack
EX/MT w/o back-paper - Bid McPhee
EX w/back-paper - Cap Anson, Jimmy Collins (crazing), Willie Keeler (fading)
VG/EX w/o back-paper - Clark Griffith
VG w/back-paper - John McGraw (crazing, fading)
The remaining 91 pins include: Anderson, Bannon, Beville, Bierbauer, Bowerman, Breitenstein, Briggs, Brown, Burk, Canavan, Clark (Balt.), Corcoran, Corkman, Dahlen, Dammon, Daub, Decker, Dolan, Donahue, Donovan, Donnelly, Dunn, Dwyer, Ely, Everett, Fields, Flood, Foreman, Ganzel, Goar (Pitt.), Goar (Ind.), Gray, Grim, Harrington (uncataloged), Hart, Hastings, Hawley, Hoffer, Hogriever, Holliday, Horton, Hughey, Hutchinson, Irwin, Kennedy, Killen, Kittredge, Lange, Long, Lyons, Mains, McCormick, McGarr, McMann, Merritt, Miller, Motz, O’Connor, Pappaulan, Payne, Peitz, Phillips, Pond, Powell, Reidy, Reitz, Richie, Rowe, Ryan (Chi.), Ryan (Bos.), Schreiver, Smith (Pitt.), Smith (Buff.), Speer, Stentzel, Sugden, Sullivan, Tebeau, Tenney, Terry, Tucker, Urquhart, Vaughn, Watkins, Weaver, Wood, Zimmer, 1897 Brooklyn, 1897 Buffalo, 1897 Pittsburg and 1897 Toronto.
It is highly unlikely that a comparably intact collection will ever again be made publicly available in one fell swoop. Now is assuredly the time to benefit from the Dreiers’ ambitious, successful undertaking to amass the world’s finest collection of Cameo Pepsins—widely considered the seminal “Old Judge of Pinbacks.”