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Four 1888 N173 Goodwin Old Judge Cabinet Proofs (Flynn)
Starting Bid - $3,500.00, Sold For - $4,640.00
Presented are four photographs of Flynn of Omaha of the Western Association which originate from what is commonly referred to as the "Vermont Find" of Old Judge-related materials. This extraordinary collection discovered many years ago included numerous items relating to Old Judge baseball photography, including approximately fifty original glass plate negatives used to produce Old Judge cabinet cards. All Old Judge glass plate negatives known to exist originate from this find. By any measure, the "Vermont Find" is one of the most interesting and significant finds relating to Old Judges to ever surface. Unfortunately there were no cards, but included were approximately ten series of mounted photographic prints like the offered series of four, each framed together, and featuring between three and six different poses of the same player, with each photo having "Copyright 1888 Goodwin & Co." and player identification in white lettering. The purpose, or even the exact year of production, of these photographs is unknown. Some of the poses are not known to exist on issued Old Judge cards, including three of the Flynn poses. Included were several duplications of photo series, though no duplication of photos on the same mount within the same frame. All of the photographs were made from original Old Judge glass plate negatives, but not all of the plate negatives used in their production had survived. For years it has been generally assumed that the framed photographs date from the 1880s, as much of the material was definitely from the late 1880s, but our research, which includes examination by photograph experts and dating when Wendel Photographic Art Studios was in business (see previous lot) indicates that these photographs do not actually date from the nineteenth century, but were in fact made after 1900. Four individual photographs from the "Vermont Find," also of Flynn and featuring the very same poses as offered in this lot, were offered at auction by a West Coast firm in 2004, selling for a total of $53,000. We are not convinced this auction result accurately reflects the market for these interesting photographs because we believe that there were several significant misrepresentations made in the catalog description: 1) The photographs were erroneously presented as definitely dating precisely from 1888. In the world of photographs, it is universally accepted that original prints made years after the first edition, while still important and very desirable, are less valuable than first edition prints. 2) The photographs were presented as unique proofs. While extremely rare, some duplicates were among the photographs in the original find, including at least two of each of the four Flynn proofs. The photographs in this lot are identical to the four examples sold at auction in 2004. 3) In addition to these issues, the four previously sold Flynn photographs, when discovered in the "Vermont Find," were originally mounted onto a single larger mount, and framed exactly as the photographs of this lot. When auctioned, the larger mount was cut apart so as to present the photographs as individual cabinet cards (the mount is thick and very much like a cabinet card mount), and the description erroneously stated that this was their original undisturbed form. The four photographs in this lot are presented framed in their original form, exactly as discovered in the "Vermont Find." We have decided to refrain from placing an estimated value on this and the following two similar lots as our research suggests the prices these photographs have sold for in the past have been excessive due to bidder reliance on inaccurate information. This series of photographs, along with the following two lots, represent what may be the only significant offering at auction ever of these extraordinary Old Judge photographic prints in their original form, not cut up individually, and offered exactly as discovered in the "Vermont Find" of Old Judge-related materials. The contrast of all four photographs is flawless. Two are Ex-Mt, two have stress mark surface creases which can be seen when held in the light at an angle, and are otherwise Ex-Mt. The Flynn photographs are especially interesting as only one of the poses of Flynn (pitching) was actually issued by Old Judge. If not for the discovery of these proofs, these images would be unknown. Each photograph measures 5.75 x 4.25 inches. Framed to total dimensions of 20.75 x 8 inches. Reserve $3,500. Estimate: (Open). SOLD FOR $4,640.00
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