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Lot # 971 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1880s Baseball Team Cabinet Card Collection (12)

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,610.00

Collection of twelve exceptionally high quality nineteenth-century team cabinet cards. Rarely are team cabinet cards of this quality seen individually, let alone as a collection. Almost all are circa 1880s, one or two may be a few years earlier, and one or two date from the 1890s. The photographic history of our National Pastime is rich in quantity but sometimes lacking in information. Many baseball images, especially those taken prior to 1900, reveal little about the identity of the teams or players pictured. That is the case with most of the twelve team cabinet cards dating from the 1880s which comprise this collection. That air of mystery, however, only serves to captivate our imaginations. These beautiful images are not just photographs, but portals in time, instantly transporting us back to a simpler era when baseball was our National Game and townspeople proudly supported their local "pick nine." Among the highlights of the collection are a team photo of the Lowells, who were at one time one of the most important amateur clubs in baseball. The Lowells team cabinet card appears to be a little earlier than the others, possibly late 1870s or very early 1880s. Another highlight is a composite team card featuring portraits, dated 1887, of "The G. G. G's" (good condition with very rounded corners, with a second apparently unrelated photo of pitched tents on reverse of mount). While we cannot say who the G. G. G.'s. were, or where they hail from, the composite-style photo is especially noteworthy in the fact that the names of the players have been printed below their images, and this information reveals that ten of the twelve individuals pictured played in the Major Leagues at one time: Perry Werden, Jim Conway, Frank Hafner, Jimmy Maculler, Charlie Hoover, Daniel Stearns, Joe Gunson, Tom Sullivan and Joe Ardner. Needless to say, the G. G. G.'s were probably a very good ball club. With the exception of the G. G. G.'s photo and one other, all of the teams pictured are in uniform, many displaying either a team name or initials upon their jerseys. The "sleeper" of the group may well be the "Blues" from Indianapolis. In Excellent condition, this is a magnificent team card of this very prominent club, with "Blues" clearly seen across each player's uniform. While not dated, it is possible that this card dates from 1884 when the Blues were a Major League team in the American Association. One particularly striking image captures a local team who obviously played in their everyday work clothes. This team photo captures the spirit of local play in the country like few others we have seen. Other teams include the All Stars of New Bedford (dated September 30, 1893 and with a complimentary celebration dinner menu on reverse), and the "Paulsboro" team (apparently from the Philadelphia area based on the address of the studio photographer). Images of all twelve are featured online. The majority of the photos are in Excellent condition overall, with several grading Very Good primarily due to mount flaws. The mounts (4.25 x 6.5, two slightly larger) average Vg-Ex in condition. Carefully culled from thousands of early photos, these twelve cabinet cards represent a unique perspective on the early history of the game and the men who played it. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $2,610.00


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