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Lot # 19 (of 1594)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1864 Brooklyn Resolutes Carte-de-Visite Including Henry Chadwick

Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $47,000.00

Presented is one of card collecting and nineteenth-century baseball photography's greatest treasures: the extremely rare, significant, and early baseball carte-de-visite picturing the 1864 Brooklyn Resolute B.B.C. in a formal studio pose. This is one of the earliest of all baseball carte-de-visites featuring a team of great significance. In addition to picturing the members of the Resolutes, one of the top clubs of the era, this baseball team card is astounding due to its inclusion of legendary baseball writer Henry Chadwick, who is seen standing to the far right. Chadwick, inventor of the box score, was one of the leading exponents of the National Pastime, and his many contributions to the sport later earned him the title "Father of Baseball." He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1938. The most prominent team member pictured here is Mort Rogers, whose name today is most associated with the attractive photographic scorecards he published in the 1870s in Boston. He was also the copublisher of The New England Base Ballist, one of the first newspapers devoted entirely to baseball. The gentleman standing to the far left, in the top hat, is Rogers' brother A. H., who was the team secretary. The prominent figures pictured here notwithstanding, the image also remains a paragon of early baseball photography due to its extraordinary composition. The clarity and sharpness of the photo are such that even the tiny lettering on one player's belt, reading "Resolute," is easily discernible. This photograph was taken in Philadelphia (probably during a trip to play the Athletics), as noted by the photographer's stamp on the reverse: "Reger's Photograph Rooms, No. 915 Arch Street, Philadelphia." Also appearing on the reverse is the vintage pencil notation, "Base Ball Club 4/25/61 Athletic Club," and a cut newsprint caption that reads "Athletic Club." Despite the written date, the photo was probably taken a few years later, circa 1864. This photo has always been something of an enigma to historians due to the fact that the photo also pictures Athletics pitcher Dick McBride, who is seen seated at the far left. What a young McBride is doing here in a Resolute uniform has never been determined with certainty; however, the highlight of the 1864 season were the tournaments (there were two) held in Philadelphia. The Resolutes, along with the Atlantics, also of Brooklyn, traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the tournaments, against each other and against the top Philadelphia-area teams: the Camden, Keystone, Olympic, and Athletic clubs. The fact that the CDV has a Philadelphia photography studio stamp printed on the reverse strongly suggests that this photograph was taken during one of these two tournaments held in Philadelphia. Early in 1864, Athletics star pitcher Dick McBride was unable to participate as a club member due to his service in the Union Army. This was during the heart of the Civil War: a recent Confederate attack on Pennsylvania had resulted in many Philadelphia area players, including McBride, responding to the call of duty. The baseball tournament was so important, however, and the pride of Philadelphia so great, that it was arranged for McBride to be given a special three-day furlough from the Union Army to allow him to pitch, in the hopes of defending the honor of Pennsylvania against the Brooklyn clubs. We may never know the exact details, but McBride's appearance in this photograph is very likely related to this very unusual circumstance. McBride is a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate for consideration by a future Veteran's Committee. In addition to being one of baseball's great stars and an early pioneer of the game, his winning percentage (.656) during his Major League career (1871-1876) is the 23rd all-time highest. The offered CDV is the actual plate specimen featured in Mark Rucker's definitive reference work Baseball Cartes - The First Baseball Cards (published by the author, 1988). This is one of only two examples known to exist. It is a virtual certainty that the other will never become available. It is the single most highly prized team CDV in the most advanced nineteenth-century baseball photography collection in private hands. It is unlikely that another example will ever surface. The presentation of this card may literally be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The photograph is in Excellent condition The quality of the photo is flawless. The carte (4 x 2.5 inches) displays heavy wear to the corners of the mount and is in Very Good condition overall. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $47,000.00

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