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Pair of 1889 Merritt Van Wagner Studio Cabinets Featuring Pete Sweeney - N173 Old Judge Proofs
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $960
Outstanding and unusual pair of N173 Goodwin Old Judge cabinet proofs of Pete Sweeney of Washington of the National League. Produced by Merritt Van Wagner Studios of Washington, each card is embossed "Copyrighted 1888, Goodwin & Co." in the lower left. Merritt Van Wagner was one of the premier baseball photographic studios in Washington during the 1880s, and provided many images for use by Goodwin in the N172 and N173 Old Judge series. The "proof" cabinets, which feature the image on a mount with advertising for the studio in the lower margin, that were produced by the studio, were not only provided to Goodwin & Co. or other companies for their commercial use but were also often given to players, family, or made available to the public as a means of advertising. The cabinets presented here have been consigned directly by the family of Pete Sweeney and have been carefully saved by the family for more than one hundred years! In fact, one cabinet bears a handwritten ink notation on the blank reverse which reads "Pete Sweeny [sic]/Grandma Cody's brother/Washington Senators/Circa 1890." This is a fascinating and striking pair of cabinet cards, which depict Sweeney holding a bat (#451-2) and in a ready-to-throw pose (#451-4). Both cabinets appear to have been stored in an album at one point in time as they display tape remnants in one of the top corners and paper loss in the alternating bottom corner. The blank reverses have light toning along with tape remnants and the aforementioned writing on one. The image areas are clean overall, with strong photo contrast on the holding-bat example and a lighter image on the ready-to-throw cabinet. This pair would be a worthy addition to any nineteenth-century baseball card or photo collection and has the added fascinating significance of originating directly from the player's family. SOLD FOR $960
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