Extremely Rare 1910 Fred Tenney Card Certified by CSG Breaks Auction Record

Posted on 1/16/2023

Collectors recently vied for the opportunity to own one of only three known examples of this vintage baseball card.

An extremely rare Fred Tenney baseball card authenticated and graded by Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) sold for a record price in Elite Collectibles’ Christmas Eve Auction. Collectors flocked to the online auction, as the 1910 E104-3 Nadja Caramel Fred Tenney graded CSG 2.5 realized $3,501 on December 24, 2022.

1910 E104-3 Nadja Caramel Fred Tenney graded CSG 2.5
Click images to enlarge.

"Fewer than 40 cards are cataloged in the third series of the E104 set. The Fred Tenney card was unknown until 2018," CSG Vice President Andy Broome explained. "What we have here is not only the third Tenney example to surface, but it’s also the highest graded of the three known. The other two are graded a 1."

Like other pre-war baseball cards, the 1910 E104 set was included in candies from the early 1900s. The cards, featuring player portraits against colorful backgrounds on the front along with the player’s name and team, came in three separate subsets: E104-1 Philadelphia Athletics, E104-2 Pittsburgh Pirates and E104-3 Various Players. The Fred Tenney card was created during his two seasons with the New York Giants; therefore, it’s filed under E104-3.

Fred Tenney made his MLB debut in 1894. After switching from the outfield to first base in 1897, his pro career took off, and today he is considered by many as one of the greatest defensive first basemen of all-time. He is credited with originating the 3-6-3 double play, and for pioneering the defensive positioning of playing deep behind the bag and off the foul line, which modern first basemen utilize to this day.

From 1901 to 1907, Tenney led the majors in assists, breaking an MLB record with 152 assists in 1905. That record lasted nearly a half a century until it was broken in 1949. In addition to Tenney’s defensive capabilities, he was a skilled bunter and place hitter, with a batting average above .300 seven times during his 17-year MLB career. He retired from baseball in 1911, finishing his career with a .294 batting average, 2,231 hits, 688 RBIs and 1,278 runs in 1,994 games played.

Related Link:

CSG Population Report: Baseball Cards of the 1910s

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