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Lot # 1435 (of 1743)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1917 Negro League Display Photo - Chicago Union Giants and Indianapolis ABCs with Oscar Charleston (2)

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $8,225

Newly discovered, extremely rare (and possibly unique) Negro League photograph (10 x 8 inches) capturing Peter's Chicago Union Giants and the Indianapolis ABCs posing together on the field prior to a game, circa 1917 (accompanied by an additional individual player display photograph). Legendary author, scholar, and Negro Leagues historian Larry Lester (who was also cofounder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and served on the Special Negro Leagues Committee for the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum) has identified the following players: Oscar Charleston, C. I. Taylor, Dizzy Dismukes, Candy Jim Taylor, and Dave Malarcher for the ABCs, and "Big" Richard Whitworth for the Giants. Additional research will almost certainly allow for further identifications. This photo most likely dates from 1917 based upon the identified players. The dual team photo is accompanied by an additional photo (8 x 10 inches) picturing a member of the Chicago Union Giants warming up on the sidelines. The vintage handwritten identification on the reverse of each photo, scripted in pencil, reads, "Kelley." If that identification ("Kelley") is correct (and we have no reason to believe it is not), then the individual photo pictures pitcher Palmer Kelley (sometimes spelled "Kelly"), who only played with Chicago in 1917. (The fact that Kelley's name is written on the reverse of each photo, and that he can be seen in the team photo as well, strongly suggests that both of the photos might have once belonged to Kelley.) The Indianapolis ABCs were one of the top teams of the era and claimed the "Colored World's Championship" in 1916 after defeating Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants in a controversial postseason series. Oscar Charleston, often regarded as the greatest all-around player in Negro League history was in just his third season of professional ball in 1917. Charleston started his career with the ABCs in 1915 and remained with the club for four seasons before joining the Chicago American Giants in 1919. C. I. Taylor is considered one of the two greatest managers in Negro League history (Rube Foster is the other) and he piloted the ABCs from 1914 until his death in 1922. "Big" Richard Whitworth was one of the premier pitchers of his day and in 1917 he played with both Peter's Chicago American Giants and the Chicago Union Giants. Any and all Negro League photographs dating prior to 1920 are exceedingly rare, especially those capturing prominent teams and players. This is one of the earliest examples we have ever seen picturing Oscar Charleston. The team photo (10 x 8 inches), which offers remarkable clarity, displays only a few tiny chips along the top border and a light scratch along the base, none of which detract in the least from its Excellent to Mint appearance. The photo remains affixed to its original black mount (14 x 11 inches), which displays a number of tears and corner chips. The photo picturing Kelley is in Excellent to Mint condition overall and also remains affixed to its original brown mount also with tears and corner chips. Total: 2 photos. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,225

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