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Lot # 1078 (of 1512)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Spectacular 1908 New York Giants Large-Format Team Composite Display - T206 Card Images!

Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $4,800

Spectacular museum-quality large-format team composite display ( 22 x 33 inches) featuring oval portrait images of twenty-four members of the 1908 New York Giants. Manager John McGraw's portrait is pictured in the center, surrounded by those of Christy Mathewson, Joe McGinnity, Roger Bresnahan, Rube Marquard, Fred Tenney, Fred Snodgrass, Larry Doyle, Hooks Wiltse, Fred Merkle, Shad Barry, Dave Brain, Moose McCormick, Art Devlin, Mike Donlin, Art Wilson, Al Bridwell, Cy Seymour, Buck Herzog, Tom Needham, Doc Crandall, Red Ames, Dummy Taylor, and Bull Durham. Each player is identified in print at the base of his respective photo. It must be noted that this an exceptionally large display piece, with each individual portrait image measuring an impressive 5 x 7 inches. Adding to both its appeal and significance is that most of the portrait images featured here were also used for the respective player's T206 tobacco card, including McGraw, Mathewson, Marquard, and Bresnahan. "Giants 1908" is decoratively printed along the base, as is the photographer's credit "Hall." Scripted below the credit is "Copyright J. Hall 1908." One can only assume that the "J. Hall" credited here is the esteemed New York photographer Joseph Hall. Although most of Hall's baseball photography dates from the 1880s, we do note that he maintained a New York studio until 1915. This piece was created by hand (as is the case with all such composites), with each portrait photo carefully cut into its oval configuration and then affixed on the heavy cardboard mount. While it may have been used to create a team cabinet photo or similar-style composite photo or printed display, none has ever surfaced. It is almost certainly unique and represents one the finest team displays we have ever seen from this era. Historians will likely note that the year of the piece corresponds to one of the most tragic seasons in New York Giants history. 1908 was the fateful year in which "Merkle's Boner" cost the Giants a key victory in a game against the Chicago Cubs on September 23rd, which ultimately led to the Giants losing the pennant. This piece had to have been produced either late in the season or after the season, as Shad Barry did not join the team until August 3rd. The Giants were involved in a tight pennant race for much of the season, but by mid September they finally created some distance between themselves and the Cubs. On September 19th the Giants held a four-and-a-half-game lead over the Cubs and seemed poised to capture another pennant. Unfortunately, the club then lost four straight, including two to the Cubs, prior to the historic game on September 23rd that was eventually declared a tie. After finishing the season tied with the Cubs, the Giants lost the one-game playoff, held at the Polo Grounds on October 8th, by a scored of 4-2. Perhaps this piece was commissioned late in the year in anticipation of a Giants pennant victory and possible World Championship, but was then never used for production purposes due to the late-season collapse. It may have also been created for newspaper or magazine use. While we will never know the exact circumstances regarding its origin, it remains one of the most extraordinary New York Giants display pieces we have ever seen from the era and is possibly the last great baseball composite ever produced by Joseph Hall. The display has a number of repaired tears, many of which run through the portrait images. There is also noticeable editorial shading to many of the players' uniforms, as well as a heavy, dark outline around McGraw's portrait. Moderate edge wear is also evident. Most the of the flaws are not very obtrusive and piece retains an Excellent overall appearance. Framed to total dimensions of 25.5 x 36 inches. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,800

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