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Lot # 1189 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1880 Baseball Team Albumen Display Photograph

Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $1,185.00

Rare original albumen photo (10.25 x 8 inches), circa 1880, capturing nine members of an unidentified baseball team posing together in a formal studio setting. What makes this photo unique is that it is comprised of two separate photos that have been affixed upon a plain cardboard mount. The left segment features six team members while the right segment pictures three players. It is interesting to note that both photos were taken in front of the same backdrop, only the three players on the right are posed slightly further to the left of the large Doric column in the background. Along the base of the right photo segment one can see the lightly embossed letters "B.F. K. Riv"[es] (indicating the manufacturer of the photographic paper). The other half displays a lightly embossed "No. 74." While we can only speculate as to why this photographic display piece was composed in such a manner, it is very likely the case that the three players on the right were not available for the original sitting and were therefore photographed at a later date. The two photos were then merged to create the full team pose. Eight of the nine players are wearing bib-style jerseys, with seven of those jerseys featuring a large "A" on the front. A ninth player is wearing a sleeveless jersey with an "A" on the front. A "star" design can be seen on the top of one of the caps. There is no photographer's credit, nor are there any written notations on the front or reverse that would help to identify the club. The dating of the piece is based primarily upon the fact that an early style catcher's mask is held by one of the seated players. The catcher's mask was first mass produced by Spalding in 1878, but it wasn't until a year later that its use became widespread. Unfortunately, there is also no history to the piece, as our consignor just purchased it recently at an estate sale in Virginia. What it lacks in information, however, it more than makes up for in aesthetics. This is an outstanding early baseball team photo, showcasing not only the early bib-style jerseys and cap design, but the early catcher's mask and period equipment (two baseball bats and a ball). Both photographic segments present seamlessly as a single image with outstanding clarity. The mount (12.75 x 10.25 inches) displays light toning and may have long ago been slightly trimmed along all four borders for framing. This is a particularly unusual, outstanding, and early baseball display team photo. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185.00

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