November 2010
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/27/2010
Frank "Black Dan" Hart was an international endurance racing superstar in the 1870s and 1880s, when ultramarathons called "six day, go as you please" races occupied and obsessed the sporting worlds on both sides of the Atlantic, much like today's NFL. The rules were simple. Participants, called "pedestrians," were free to run, walk, crawl, and scratch their way around an oval track as many times as possible in the course of six days, sleeping on cots within the oval, and usually for less than four hours per day. Fans attended and followed these races with the enthusiasm of modern day college football tailgaters, coming and going as they pleased, and often betting on their favorite racers. In 1880, Frank Hart shattered the world pedestrian record by covering 565 miles when he claimed the O'Leary Belt in New York City, famously waving the American flag to thousands upon thousands of cheering (and no doubt jeering) fans packed into Madison Square Garden as he completed his final laps. His significance as an early black American athlete is hard to qualify. After national interest in six day racing fizzled, Hart played baseball for a Chicago Negro League team before passing away in 1908, his racing accomplishments nearly as forgotten as his baseball statistics, but for those who saw him, and for those who cheered for him, Frank Hart gave hope to untold thousands of fans of all races that is was possible for blacks and whites to compete on the same playing fields. Offered in this lot is a phenomenally scarce 1880 Between the Acts & Bravo example depicting Hart at the height of his racing career. Manufactured by New York's Thomas H. Hall, and subsequently catalogued by Jefferson Burdick as N344 in the American Card Catalog, the issue is well-known if not somewhat mythical among advanced 19th century non-sport collectors, somewhat like Gypsy Queens among baseball collectors. Both PSA and SGC report just a single example on record for most of the 12-card set, but neither company has graded all 12, and the lone Hart example on both company's records, our consignor assures us, is one and the same. Offered here in an SGC 20 holder, the card shows paper loss on back but is in otherwise exceptional EX to EX/MT condition, and is one of the only known examples in the entire hobby, raw or graded. An intriguing acquisition for the 19th century tobacco and Negro League collector alike, and one of the only instances in the hobby where these two separate worlds cross paths.
1880-92 N344 Frank "Black Dan" Hart SGC 20 FAIR 1.5
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $400.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $931.77
Number Bids: 6
Auction closed on Saturday, November 27, 2010.
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