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Lot # 1392 (1392 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1888 Hastings "Galaxy of the National League" Team Composite with Anson, Wright, Ewing, and More!

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $9,000

Exceedingly rare baseball display piece, titled "Galaxy of the National League," produced by the renowned Hastings photography studio of Boston, Massachusetts. The attractive design combines beautifully illustrated game-in-progress scenes, as well as various pieces of equipment, together with actual team photos of all eight members of the National League in 1888: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Washington. Each of the team photos measures approximately 5 x 3.5 inches (equivalent in size to a real-photo postcard), which allows for easy identification of most the players present, including Hall of Famers Cap Anson, Sam Thompson, Deacon White, Harry Wright (in top hat, manager of Philadelphia), Mickey Welch, Jim O'Rourke, Montgomery Ward, Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe, Roger Connor, and Pud Galvin. The printed text along the base reads "Galaxy of the National League, [By] Hastings, the photographer, 147 [Tremont] Street, Boston, Mass." The year, "1888," is displayed on a rendition of home plate within the body of the piece. This is universally regarded as one of the premier nineteenth-century baseball display pieces. It is also one of the rarest. There are probably fewer than ten known examples in the entire collecting world and over the past forty years we can only recall having seen four others at public auction. Unlike nearly all of the other few examples we have seen, however, this piece appears to be in its original state, with no apparent evidence of restoration. It does, of course, have a number of flaws consistent with its age and fragile nature, the most serious of which are hidden by the matting. Luckily, the most significant defects affect the perimeter of the piece. Heavy staining and tears, including many with moderate paper loss, affect all four borders. There is a vertical line of light-to-moderate toning running down the center of the piece (most likely resulting from its having rested upon the middle slat of a previous frame) with a small area of light staining still visible in the lower left corner. Two small areas of light discoloration appear just inside the main body of the piece near the left border. An irregularly shaped large vertical tear extends from the base, running through the home plate and affecting portions of the text. One large (4.5 inches) and three smaller tears, as well as a small chip in the right corner, are still visible along the top border. The only visible tear with significant paper loss occurs along the base, where a missing semi-oblong piece (approximately .75 x 1 inches) affects a portion of the text. The missing piece contained the word "By" in the line "By Hastings, the Photographer," and nearly the entire name of the street ("Tremont") in the address, " 147 Tremont Street." Although technically in Fair condition overall, it should be noted that nearly all of the aforementioned flaws can be addressed by professional restoration and, most important, the main body of the piece is free of any significant defects. As matted, it presents as Very Good to Excellent, and remains an exceptional display piece dating from the earliest days of the National League. The print (20 x 24 inches) has been matted and framed to total dimensions of 31 x 30 inches.
Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $9,000

(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)