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Circa 1865 Baseball CDV - Two Albany Players
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $4,148
Circa 1865 baseball CDV picturing two Albany players posing together in a studio setting. Produced by Churchill & Denison of Albany, New York, as noted by the imprint on the reverse. The tax stamp on the reverse also dates this CDV to 1864-66. This is an extremely well-known CDV image, an example of which appears as plate 16 in Mark Rucker's groundbreaking work Baseball Cartes - The First Baseball Cards (self-published, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1988) and also appears in the special nineteenth-century issue of The National Pastime (Spring 1984, page 9) published by The Society of American Baseball Research. In addition to providing the year (1865) and team affiliation for both players, Rucker also identifies each, and notes that McClure was a second baseman who later played for the National B.B.C., "a team that played against Cincinnati on their cross-country tours." The clarity of the photo is such that the words "Champion Belt" can be clearly read on McClure's uniform belt. The other gentleman is identified by Rucker as "Phillips". CDVs were the most popular form of early mass-produced photography, and its introduction to the public coincided with both the Civil War and the growing popularity of baseball. CDVs featuring baseball images dating from the 1860s are extremely rare, especially those picturing identifiable players. As a point of reference, REA sold another example of this CDV, the one used as the plate specimen in Rucker's book, for $2,350 in our May 2010 auction (Lot 1143). The CDV (2.375 x 4 inches) displays outstanding clarity and has four clipped corners (which is very common with early CDVs of all subjects and relates to being being mounted in photographic albums). A U.S. Government two-cent tax stamp and postmark (as required by law from 1864 to 1866), which are extremely desirable attributes, appear on the reverse. The technical flaws of the mount aside, the photo remains in Excellent condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000++. SOLD FOR $4,148
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