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1888 New York Giants Imperial Cabinet and World's Championship Testimonial Dinner Program in Framed Display
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $9,000
This magnificent framed display houses two exceedingly rare pieces relating to the New York Giants 1888 and 1889 Championship seasons. The central piece is a magnificent large-format photograph (21.5 x 16 inches) of the 1889 World Champion New York Giants taken by noted photographer Joseph Hall. The elegant studio photograph captures fourteen members of the club posing together in formal attire. An illustrated banner in the background reads "League Champions 1889." The players pictured here are: (top row, L/R) Art Whitney, Tim Keefe, Mike Tiernan, Mickey Welch, Roger Connor, Willard Brown, and Buck Ewing; (bottom row) Pat Murphy, Cannonball Crane, unidentified, Jim Murtrie (Mgr.), Danny Richardson, Bill George, and Jim O'Rourke. This is one of only four examples we have ever seen of this photo and only the second we have offered. (The first appeared as Lot 1167 in REA's May 2013 auction where it realized $13,035.) Given both its rarity and enormous size one can only assume that it was produced as a special presentation piece, possibly exclusively for team members and special patrons of the club, unlike the smaller Joseph Hall team cabinets that were available to the general public. The Giants captured their second consecutive World Championship in 1889, an achievement that would certainly warrant the commission of such an extraordinary photograph from Joseph Hall. There are few nineteenth-century baseball photographs of this size and magnitude known in the hobby. The fact that it features five future Hall of Fame players naturally adds to its preeminent status. The photo, which has not been examined out of frame, displays a few areas of professional restoration to tears in the upper left corner and within the image of the banner along the top. A small area of very light discoloration is evident just above Buck Ewing's image. None of those minor flaws detracts in the least from the photo's overall Excellent to Mint appearance. This is an extraordinary photo in all respects and one of the most spectacular nineteenth-century team photos we have ever handled.
The photo is displayed together with an equally rare piece: a specially produced program issued for a testimonial dinner held in honor of the National League Champion New York Giants at the Star Theater in New York on October 14, 1888. This is only the second example of this program we have ever seen and the first we have handled. Both the front and back covers are produced on thick cardboard stock that features a blue, heavily textured surface. The lettering on the cover reads "Champions/1889/NYBB/C." (It was customary at the time for the league champions of the current season to be referred to as the Champions of the following year as well.) The first page displays the date of the event, while another page listing the order of events notes that the program will close with the presentation of the National League pennant. Two additional pages feature portrait images of eighteen team members (nine to a page), including Ward, Keefe, Ewing, Connor, Welch, and O'Rourke. Of special interest is the fact that the program lists a performance by DeWolf Hopper. It was just two months earlier, on August 15th, that Hopper first performed "Casey at the Bat" on stage as a special presentation for the New York Giants and Chicago White Stockings. While "Casey" is not specifically mentioned in the program, one can only wonder if Hopper reprised his classic rendition for the crowd that night. Both covers (6 x 6 inches) and the six interior pages of the program are detached and have been affixed (by means of adhesive) to the mount surrounding the photo. Without reference to the page separation, the program is in Good condition overall, with repaired tears to both covers, moderate staining on the pages and covers, and minor edge tears to the pages. Total dimensions: 46 x 42 inches. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice.
Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $9,000
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