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Lot # 896 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1960 New York Yankees Photo Archive: 94 Never-Before-Seen Original Photos Taken By LIFE Magazine Photographer Ted Polumbaum

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $6,380.00

Presented is one of the most extraordinary and impressive vintage baseball photograph collections ever to surface. Each of the ninety-four original black-and-white photographs, measuring an impressive 9 x 13.5-inches, was taken by veteran photojournalist Ted Polumbaum on assignment for LIFE magazine during the course of a three-game series between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park in late September 1960. The entire daily routine of the Yankees recorded by Polumbaum's gifted lens includes images of the players at bat, in the batting cage, warming up on the sidelines, in the field, watching the action from the dugout, and in the locker room after the game. Polumbaum also took a series of hand studies at the time - these are offered as a separate group in the following lot - that captures the batting grips of seven different Yankees players, including Roger Maris. All of the photos have been consigned to this auction directly by Ted Polumbaum's family. Each of the photographs, printed in the LIFE magazine lab, is unique, literally representing the only print made of each in 1960. Aside from the photographs offered here, no other prints were ever made from the negatives. Among the many highlights of this collection are the following: 1) Two photos of Mantle and Maris posing together as they stand outside the batting cage. 2) Ten photos of Mickey Mantle including four at bat, two on the on-deck circle, two running the bases, one in the dugout and one clowning around with Elston Howard during warmups. 3) Ten Roger Maris photos including three at bat, one in the batting cage, four in the on-deck circle, one in the dugout and one in the field. 4) Eleven photos of Yogi Berra including one talking with Ted Williams (in his last season) at home plate. 5) Five photos of Casey Stengel, including two on-the-field in conference with a pitcher, and one on-the-field arguing with an umpire. The remaining photos capture nearly every other starting player during some phase of the game. The only significant player not featured is Whitey Ford, although his face can be seen in the background of a locker-room shot. Vintage baseball photos of this quality and composition from this era are virtually nonexistent. That fact, combined with their significant subject matter and provenance - originating directly from the estate of the photographer, one of the most famous photojournalists of his time - further distinguishes the collection as one of the most significant photographic finds Robert Edward Auctions has ever had the privilege to offer.

The Photographer: Ted Paumbaum (1924-2001) holds a special place in the history of journalism and photography. One of America's most gifted and respected photojournalists during the second half of the twentieth century, Palumbaum began his career as a reporter and writer. In 1953, at the height of the McCarthy era, while working as a reporter for UPI in Boston, he received a subpoena to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) to testify in their investigation of "subversion in education." When Polumbaum refused to cooperate with the Committee and challenged their right to violate his First amendment rights, he was threatened with contempt charges, lost his job, and was blacklisted from his chosen occupation. No longer able to work as a journalist, he exchanged his pen for a camera and taught himself how to be a photographer. Within three years he was shooting for Life magazine. In addition to working on over 400 assignments for LIFE magazine, America's premier photojournalist magazine, Polumbaum also produced work for Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Time, People, Money, Look, Esquire and the Saturday Evening Post. Many of his most famous images were taken during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Today, nearly all of Polumbaum's work, more than 25,000 images (consisting of prints, negatives and slides) resides in the permanent collection of Newseum, the $400 million interactive museum of journalism that is scheduled to open in Washington D.C. in 2007. Palumbaum's unique history and extraordinary body of work makes the Newseum an ideal permanent home for his work, which, just as it has in the past, will continue to be enjoyed by millions in the years to come.

The Photos: Ninety-four black-and-white LIFE magazine contact prints from 35mm negatives, on double-weight, matte-finish 11 x 14-inch fiber paper, trimmed flush by the lab to approximate dimensions of 9 x 13.5 inches (the proportions of the full 35mm negatives). Each bears the LIFE magazine stamp on the reverse that includes the date, assignment name ("Yankees-Red Sox Ball Game") and the photographer's name ("Ted Polumbaum"). Additionally, each photo also bears light pencil notations on the reverse to identify the roll of film and negative. The photos all document a three-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox held at Fenway Park on September 23, 24 and 25th, 1960. After each game a courier carried the film to New York for overnight processing and printing; the next morning brought the prints back to Boston on the early train so the photographer could see the pictures and show them to the players before that day's game. During that process, only one unique print was made and given back to the photographer. These are the only prints ever produced from the negatives. The collection has been consigned directly to this auction by the Polumbaum family. With the exception of the photos in this auction, all of Polumbaum's existing LIFE magazine prints and photographs (from over 400 assignments) were donated by Nyna Brael Polumbaum in 2003 to the permanent collection of the Newseum. These ninety-four prints (as well as the seven that appear in the following lot) represent the only original Polumbaum LIFE magazine prints (or from other sources) in private hands. At the bequest of our consignor, the entire collection (with the exception of the seven hand studies that appear in the following lot), is being offered as a single lot, with the hope that perhaps the collection will remain intact. Because of the manner in which the photos were processed and returned to the photographer, nearly all display very minor handling faults. A few of the photos, most notably a Maris photo, display a few minor tears or creases that extend into the image. Overall, the collection remains in Excellent to Mint condition. These photos are of such an extraordinarily high quality that each would be ideal for gallery framing. This is an extraordinary collection of museum-quality baseball photographs dating from an era in which few photographs in the baseball world qualify for such distinction. The entire collection can be viewed online. Total 94 photographs. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000/$10,000.

Additional images are available at http://photos.yahoo.com/reaphotos. SOLD FOR $6,380.00


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