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Lot # 37 (37 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1888 Boston Joseph Hall Team Cabinet Including Clarkson, Kelly, and Radbourn with Original Mailing Envelope!

Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $36,000

Presented is a tremendous pair of nineteenth-century relics: an extremely rare team cabinet photograph (4.25 x 6.5 inches) of the Boston Nationals from the Joseph Hall series and the original mailing envelope used by the Brooklyn-based photographer to send out his photos! The Joseph Hall team cabinet card is the primary item, of course, and captures the 1888 Boston Beaneaters posed in an outdoor studio setting. Boston has always been one of the most desirable team cards of the Joseph Hall team-card series (both in terms of rarity and the prominence of the team). The composition of this photo is particularly interesting as the head of each team member is superimposed onto the image. Fascinating note: In producing this cabinet card, Joseph Hall used an image of the 1888 Brooklyn team of the American Association (that was actually used on the Joseph Hall cabinet of the 1888 Brooklyn club) and replaced the heads of the Brooklyn players with those of the Boston team players (in addition changing the background of the photo and adding artwork to transform the players' jerseys to read "Boston"). This type of image alteration was a common practice/tool of professional photographers at that time, and it was executed quite masterfully, especially considering the absence of today's modern software.

Joseph Hall team cabinets have long been revered by collectors as among the most highly prized of all nineteenth-century cabinet issues, and are universally regarded as the premier team cabinet-card series of the era. This is an exceptional example featuring one of the nineteenth century's most prominent teams, highlighted by three legendary Hall of Famers. The photograph is particularly striking, with great detail throughout. Along with individual player identifications, which correspond to numbers on their respective images, the mount is captioned: "Jos. Hall, Photo., 111 Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y. - Boston Ball Club, 1888." The photograph includes fourteen players, among them Hall of Famers John Clarkson, Mike "King" Kelly, and Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, as well as captain John Morrell and star Billy Nash. This example is in tremendous overall condition. It should be! When it was purchased by Dan Gantt decades ago, it was still in the original mailing envelope from Joseph Hall Studios. It was one of two Joseph Hall team cabinets in the envelope, both of which had not seen the light of day since 1888! The other Joseph Hall cabinet card (of St. Louis) is offered in this auction as its own separate lot.

The 1888 Boston Joseph Hall team cabinet is graded and encapsulated VG/EX 50 by SGC (submitted by REA). It is bright, crisp, and clean, with superb photo contrast and detail, strong corners, a flawless surface, and an image centered slightly to the top. The blank reverse is entirely clean, with just a few small spots of foxing due to age and mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy. We grade this example Excellent. As noted, this example is accompanied by the original mailing envelope (approximately 7.5 x 5 inches) used by Joseph Hall to send his photographs to customers. The Joseph Hall return address is boldly printed at top and clearly legible alongside an illustration of Windsor Castle. Addressed by hand to an Edward Dolan of Connecticut and postmarked in Brooklyn. The fact that this envelope has survived for more than 125 years at all is very impressive, and to do so in relatively presentable condition is all the more remarkable. While it would technically grade very modestly due to creasing and age spotting throughout, it displays beautifully and is an extraordinary companion piece to this card or any Joseph Hall team cabinet. The Boston team cabinet presented here is an extraordinary card, one of the best of all nineteenth-century team cards. This card would be a significant highlight in even the most advanced world-class collection, and is all the more noteworthy for being accompanied by its original mailing envelope. Total: 2 items (card and envelope). From the Dan Gantt Collection. Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $36,000


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