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Lot # 26 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Carte-de-Visite

Starting Bid - $10,000.00, Sold For - $38,512.50

Extraordinary team composite carte-de-visite featuring the first professional baseball team - the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. This extremely rare style CDV features eight identified oval portraits of players in street clothes surrounding a larger photo of team captain Harry Wright in uniform in the center. The surrounding players, each identified under his oval photo, are G. Wright, Gould, Waterman, Allison, Brainard, McVey, Leonard and Sweasey. Photographer "D. R. Town, Rockford, Ills." is marked along the bottom on the front. It is interesting to note that photographer D. R. Town also produced other CDV cards featuring baseball subjects during this era. The reverse of the card is blank. This is an extremely rare 1869 Red Stockings CDV, far rarer than the traditional CDV and trade-card team pose usually seen. In fact, during the past forty years, we have seen a total of exactly three examples of this card. One example was offered at auction approximately ten years ago and was trimmed. The other appeared as Lot 799 in the 1991 Copeland auction at Sotheby's, where it sold at that time for $11,000. When offered in the Copeland sale, it was at that time the only example known. This third is the offered example that was discovered in 2005 by a noncollecting family in Florida as part of a circa 1870 photo album containing approximately 100 period CDVs of various subjects. They consigned the CDV to REA's May 2005 auction where it appeared as lot #79 (realizing $26,100). It has been consigned to this auction directly by the purchaser from the 2005 sale. Interesting note: in 2005, the family who consigned this card thought this was the only baseball-related card in the album. They kept the rest of the album. Just recently they were looking at all the other (nonbaseball) subjects that they kept (in 2005 they only sent us the one 1869 Red Stockings CDV offered here) and they realized that another CDV was actually a baseball team. (They had missed it because the 1870 Forest City’s were in street clothes!) That card is offered as a separate lot in this auction, and ironically is directly responsible for the offering of this 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV, which motivated us to contact the 2005 winner. The timing was right! This is one of our favorite nineteenth-century cards and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to offer it. This example of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings CDV is by far the finest of the three examples known. The Copeland example, as can be seen in the Sotheby's catalog photo, was somewhat faded. The photo quality of this example is extraordinary, displaying superb clarity and contrast. The players' names below the portraits are all perfectly legible. There is a slight crease in the upper left corner (affecting the photo surface only, not the mount), otherwise the card is in Near Mint condition with a clean reverse. This is a spectacular example of one of the nineteenth century's rarest and most important cards, featuring baseball's first professional team, the legendary 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $25,000+. SOLD FOR $38,512.50

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