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1889 Spalding World Tour Photo Album
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $37,700.00
This exquisite leather-bound album contains original photographs from the great World Tour of 1888-1889. Measuring a majestic 15 x 12.5 x 2.5 inches, it was created as a special keepsake for players, and was most probably a personal gift from Al Spalding. This book belonged to Hall of Famer George Wright. Over the years a few separated photographic plates from a different album have surfaced at auction, but this is the only complete album in existence in private hands to the best of our knowledge. The extraordinary baseball images included are among the most famous and noteworthy of all nineteenth-century photography. These images have been reproduced many times in many books, and feature the players in scenes around the world. The highlight photographs include a full-page photographic print of the American Tourists, dressed in full uniforms, on camels in Egypt preparing to travel to the Pyramids; a full-page photograph of ballplayers posing on The Sphinx; and a third full-page photo of a game in progress in front of the great Pyramids of Egypt. Forty-four additional photographs capture various images (mostly non-baseball) from the tour, ranging from scenery to local natives. All photos are neatly mounted on the thick cardboard pages, with either one or two photos on each page. The cover of the album is lettered "England" in gilt. The much celebrated 1888-1889 World Tour was organized by A. G. Spalding in the hopes of spreading the gospel of the American game of baseball to the rest of the world. To many, this is the ultimate item in existence relating to the World Tour. This book actually belonged to and was assembled for World Tourist George Wright, and includes among its pages a mounted printed invitation to and menu for a dinner held on April 13th, 1889 in honor of his return from the tour. The interior of the first page includes George Wright's initials and a few notes regarding the tour, both in pencil in George Wright's hand. This extraordinary album was once a part of the legendary Barry Halper Collection, and was always one of Barry Halper's most prized nineteenth-century baseball items. It appeared as Lot #283 in the 1999 Halper sale, where at that time it sold for $16,100. It has been consigned to this auction directly from the original purchaser at the Halper auction. For ideal preservation, the album was beautifully rebound by Barry Halper, with no expense spared. The pages have been professionally reinforced with museum tape along the spine to allow for easy viewing without fear of damage. The photos and album are overall in Excellent condition, with minor imperfections such as a few tiny chips of little or no significance to the thick almost cabinet card-style pages. It is impossible to look at, hold, or turn the pages of this album without appreciating the impressive quality of its construction which, as intended by its maker, is fitting for a volume of such extraordinary historical importance. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$20,000. SOLD FOR $37,700.00
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