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1914 Federal League Baltimore Opening-Day Panorama - First Game in Federal League History!
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $4,500
This exceedingly rare panoramic photograph captures the action from the first game in Federal League history, played between the Baltimore Terrapins and Buffalo Feds at Terrapin Park in Baltimore on April 13, 1914. Its rarity (we are only aware of three other examples) and historical significance aside, this piece is also one of the finest game-in-progress panoramas we have ever seen. Taken from the perspective of the upper grandstands (in the area between home plate and third base), the photograph encompasses not only the entire field of play, but also the entire grandstand and many outlying buildings. The Terrapins are in the field and based upon the actions of the fielders and batter, it appears that a pitch has just been fouled off. The stands are packed to capacity, and an overflow crowd lines the stadium walls. In the background, numerous fans can be seen on rooftops watching the game. Credit for this remarkable photograph goes to "Hughes Co.," as noted in print along the base. Printed directly to the left of the photo credit is the white-letter caption "Opening Day - Federal League - April 13-1914/Score - Baltimore 3 - Buffalo 2 - Attendance 30,000."
The Federal League was formed in 1914 as a Major League rival to the American and National Leagues. Despite its success in signing many of the game's top stars, the League only lasted two seasons, thus making this photo not only an extraordinary artistic achievement, but an extremely significant historical piece as well. Probably by design, this game was the first Major League game of the season, thus ensuring that for at least one day the Federal League would hold center stage in the baseball world. Any and all materials relating to the short-lived Federal League are exceedingly rare, especially photographic images of this scale. This photo is simply spectacular on all levels. Collectors today would expect to find such a piece only in either the Baseball Hall of Fame or in one of the country's premier private collections. Remarkably, it is also new to the hobby. According to our consignor, who lives in New Hampshire, the panorama has been in his family's possession for as long as he can remember.
The photograph (36.5 x 9.5 inches) remains in remarkable condition given its age and fragile nature. It appears that the photo has been dry mounted onto a thin wood backing and is otherwise in spectacular Near Mint condition. This is only the third example of this rare panorama we have ever handled. The first, which was in lesser condition, appeared as Lot 1425 in our May 2011 auction and sold for $10,575. The other, in equally superb condition, appeared as Lot 1147 in our Fall 2013 auction, where it realized $7,110. The photo has been matted and is housed in what appears to be its original wood frame, which measures 42.5 x 14.5 inches. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,500
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