Hobby Fresh 1889 Anson and Ewing “Burke Ale” Beer Advertising Poster Highlighted in Upcoming Heritage Platinum Auction

What is the most important advertising piece in the entirety of the baseball collectibles hobby? You’ll find no shortage of experts holding that opinion, and those arguing otherwise would find themselves buried beneath a landslide of supporting evidence. By virtually every standard of measurement, the 130-year-old Burke Ale Beer Ad to be offered in our upcoming February 23-24 Platinum Night Auction interior asserts its supremacy, and stands destined to elevate its new owner to the pinnacle of its vibrant collecting subgenre.

We’ll begin our thesis defense by placing the relic within its historical context. Most significantly, this poster represents just the second use of professional athletes for product endorsement, the first having been an 1874 cigar poster featuring Hall of Fame shortstop George Wright. There is no small irony in the fact that the product being hawked here is alcohol, as our national pastime was engaged in a moral struggle over that very thing during the late years of the 19th century, giving rise in 1881 to the American Association, commonly called “The Beer and Whiskey League,” formed in direct response to the banning of beer and Sunday games by the National League. The beer promoted here bears the “E. & J. Burke” label, a brand sheltered beneath the umbrella of the popular “Guinness Brewery” name.

Enjoying “Finest Pale Ale” and “Extra Foreign Stout” respectively are the two foremost figures of the contemporary game, Adrian “Cap” Anson and William “Buck” Ewing, providing unparalleled star power to the idyllic scene. They relax in the shade of a canvas retiring tent and “Champions” pennant as their teammates speckle the landscape beyond.

The extraordinary artwork and production outshines any baseball commemorative produced in the sport’s Dead Ball Era, showcasing the work of Wagner & Co. Lithographers, the nation’s leading practitioner of the field. We find their maker’s mark at the lower right corner. The poster measures 24×18″ in size, not including its backing.

It makes its hobby debut here, consigned to auction along with a letter of provenance from its owner who was gifted the relic by a neighbor in upstate New York decades ago. An absolutely spectacular representation of one of the hobby’s most coveted rarities.

PSA

Featured Auctions

(*) Indicates Auction in Progress
(*) PWCC: June 1 - June 20
(*) RR Auction: June 13 - June 20
(*) Sirius Sports: June 10 - June 20
(*) Sterling Sports Auction: June 6 - June 20
(*) NHL Auctions - Blues: June 1 - June 21
(*) Iconic Auctions: June 13 - June 22
(*) SCP Auctions: June 5 - June 22
(*) Heritage Historical: June 3 - June 22-23
(*) PWCC: June 1 - June 23-27
(*) NHL Auctions: June 12 - June 24
(*) University Archives: June 5 - June 26
(*) NHL Auctions - Blues: June 1 - June 26-28
(*) Small Traditions: June 16 - June 29
(*) Pristine - Elite: June 1 - June 30
(*) PWCC: June 1 - June 30
(*) Sirius Coins: June 17 - June 30
Sirius Sports: June 23 - July 4
MEARS Auctions: June 28 - July 6
PWCC: July 1 - July 8-11
(*) CertifiedLink.com: June 12 - July 9
(*) MeiGray Auctions: June 16 - July 9
(*) Clean Sweep Auctions: June 6 - July 10
RR Auction: June 21 - July 10
Mile High Card Co: June 24 - July 11
Sirius Coins: July 1 - July 14
PWCC: July 1 - July 14-18
Grey Flannel: June 26 - July 17
Collect Auctions: July 1 - July 18
RR Auction: July 11 - July 18
Sirius Sports: July 6 - July 18
Heritage Historical: June 27 - July 16-18
Heritage Sports: June 26 - July 18-19
Iconic Auctions: July 10 - July 20
PWCC: July 1 - July 21-25
Pristine - Elite: July 1 - July 28
Sirius Coins: July 15 - July 28
PWCC: July 1 - July 28-31
Goldin Auctions: July 8 - Aug. 1
Sirius Sports: July 20 - Aug. 1
Iconic Auctions: July 24 - Aug. 3
MEARS Auctions: July 26 - Aug. 3
NSCC - Charity: July 1 - Aug. 3
2019 Full Auction Schedule