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1926 Indianapolis A.B.C's and Cleveland Elites Opening Day Negro-League Panoramic Photo (Merkin Collection)
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $5,925
Rare Negro League panorama capturing the members of the Indianapolis ABC's and the Cleveland Elites posing together on the field prior to the opening game of the season on May 15, 1926, at Washington Park in Indianapolis, Indiana. A total of thirty-one uniformed players are pictured, plus nineteen other individuals who, presumably, represent either front-office or league personnel. The white-letter caption along the base reads "Indianapolis, A.B.C.'s and Cleveland Elite's. Opening Game at Washington Park/May 15th, 1926. Indianapolis, Ind." The photographer's credit, "Patton Studio," appears in the lower right corner. Negro League photos, especially panoramas, from this era are exceedingly rare and this is the only example of this particular photo we have ever seen. Its rarity notwithstanding, this is also a historically significant photo because Cleveland was only a member of the Negro National League in 1926 (the club failed to finish the year), which also marked the ABC's final year in the League as well. The Indianapolis ABC's, which were originally sponsored by the American Brewing Company (hence the team's name,) joined the Negro National League in 1920. Following the 1926 season the club folded, although they were later reorganized a number of times, under different ownership, during the 1930s. This photo once resided in the famed Richard Merkin Collection, which was one of the largest holdings of rare and significant Negro League memorabilia in private hands. The panorama (30 x 6.5 inches), which presents with outstanding clarity, displays a few light creases (most are only visible when viewed at certain angles) that do not detract in the least from its Excellent overall appearance. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 33.5 x 10 inches. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $5,925
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