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Lot # 139 (139 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

Circa 1874 House of Refuge CDV - Earliest Photo of African-Americans Playing Baseball!

Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $8,400

Historically significant CDV featuring a baseball game in progress at the Western House of Refuge (a juvenile detention center located in Rochester, New York), circa 1874, picturing both white and African American ballplayers. The credit stamp of "F. W. Bacon/55 East Main Street, Odd Fellows' Hall Block/Rochester, N. Y." appears on the reverse. A different example of this CDV (the only other example we have ever seen) appears as plate 58 in Mark Rucker's groundbreaking work Baseball Cartes - The First Baseball Cards (self-published, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1988). In his book, Rucker identifies this CDV as "being the first photo of blacks playing ball. The uniforms with dark hats are worn by the black team, while the whites wear the jockey style caps. The black kids are at bat, the pitcher is about to release the ball, and all the fielders are demonstrating proper ready position. In the distance a band is playing and to the far left, the top-hatted umpire is visible." The Western House of Refuge opened in 1849 and housed young men under the age of sixteen who were convicted of vagrancy or a criminal act by courts in Western New York. In 1875 the institution expanded its facilities to include girls and remained in operation until 1960. 4 x 2.5 inches. Ex-Mt. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,400


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