Cincinnati's turn-of-the-century silver passes are the crème de la crème of all baseball season passes. Between 1899 and 1902, Reds owner John T. Brush laid the cornerstone of the silver-pass tradition with a series of stunning sterling-silver cards reserved for the upper-crust of his elite clientele.
To our knowledge, there are only three of the 1899 passes that have ever sold publicly—and this is the first of them to reach the auction block over the past seven years, since the summer of 2009. Indeed, the offered example, granting admission to Major Thomas M. Defrees, has not seen the light of day since last being auctioned in 1998. It measures 3-1/4 x 3-1/8", rates EX condition and features a supremely elegant design of filigree accents around a glove/mask/bat/ball emblem. One never knows when or if another of the surviving 1899 trio may become available, and so, given the surging market for silver season passes, we are anticipating a milestone price.
At League Park, the lucky Mr. Defrees witnessed a passing of the torch from 39-year-old Hall of Famer Bid McPhee to a 19-year-old fellow future Cooperstown inductee by the name of Wahoo Sam Crawford, who collected the initial 7 of his career record 309 triples. Coincidentally, another HOFer on Buck Ewing's '99 squad was Jake Beckley—who remains 4th all time in triples with 244. This item has a reserve (estimated value $7500-$10,000).