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Lot # 1539 (1539 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1902 Carl Horner American League Composite Display Photograph

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $33,000

Extremely rare 1902 American League large-format photographic wall display composite produced by Carl Horner, baseball's preeminent photographer of the era. By any measure, this is one of the premier photographic baseball displays of the early twentieth century, both for its extraordinary size (26 x 21 inches) and exquisite design. As most collectors know, Horner also produced two similarly designed American League team photographic composites for the years 1903 and 1904 (both of which are exceedingly rare today; only a few of each are known); however, the offered display from 1902 is obviously far rarer still. In fact, we have never before seen or heard of an American League photographic composite produced by Carl Horner dating from 1902. Some have speculated that these photographic displays were issued to League officials, team owners, and a few other select individuals. From publications of the era, we know they were also offered for sale directly from Carl Horner Studios, but they were extremely expensive, and their great rarity today is such that it seems certain they were produced in extremely limited numbers.

The composite features portrait images of nearly every player, plus the team manager, for all eight American League clubs. A larger photo of League President Ban Johnson appears in the center. Included among the many luminaries pictured are Connie Mack, Jimmy Collins, Cy Young, Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, Ed Delahanty, Bobby Wallace, Clark Griffith, Addie Joss, Elmer Flick, Nap Lajoie, and Wilbert Robinson. All of the players have been identified (by means of a corresponding number next to each image) on a sheet below the composite. Illustrated frames surround each portrait photo, while a number of additional baseball-related drawings, such as crossed bats, a hat, and a glove, appear throughout the piece. The lettering in the center of the composite reads "American League 1902 - Photos by Carl J. Horner - 11 Winter St., Boston." Both the composite photo and identification sheet are affixed to a large cardboard mount (not unlike a "gigantic cabinet card") that features Horner's name stamped in the lower right corner.

In addition to its extreme rarity, this piece is further distinguished by its remarkable state of preservation. The piece displays just a hint of light toning to both the composite and identification sheet (it was originally matted and framed in such a manner that the border areas of each remain lighter in color than the main bodies), two tiny edge tears along the upper right border of the composite, and a few small areas of adhesive residue along the top border of the mount. Aside from those extremely minor flaws, the piece remains in extraordinary Near Mint condition, looking virtually the same as it did when first issued in 1902. This is by far the finest Horner American League team composite, from any year, we have ever seen. Nearly perfect in all respects. This display piece is one of the most remarkable highlights of the extraordinary Dan Gantt Collection. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 30.75 x 25.75 inches.
Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$20,000. SOLD FOR $33,000

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