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1870 "New York Fashions" Color Baseball Lithograph
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $22,325.00
Dating from the dawn of professional baseball, this extraordinary and rare full-color lithograph, issued in 1870, pictures six ballplayers modeling the various uniform styles of the period. The exceptional visual appeal of the piece is further accentuated by the game-in-progress scene depicted in the background. While the players themselves are generic in nature, the uniforms they model are those of actual ball clubs, including the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the Brooklyn Atlantics, and the New York Mutuals. The lettering along the base of the white border reads "New York Fashions - For March 1870 - Published by E. Butterick & Co. 589 Broadway." The name of the lithographic publisher ("Hatch & Co., 218 Broadway, Herald Building, N. Y.") appears in smaller lettering in the lower right corner. The name of the artist, Ino Schuller, appears in small script on the fence to the far right. Despite the fact that one of the players holds a ball labeled "Peck & Snyder" and presents the latest baseball uniform styles for the era's most prominent teams, we believe that this litho is not primarily intended to be an advertising piece, but rather a decorative art print meant for wall display. In all respects this print is produced with the processes and production values of other fine art prints of the era, such as those produced by master printmakers Kelloggs and Currier & Ives. This is, unquestionably, one of the premier nineteenth-century baseball display pieces ever produced. It is notable on many counts, including its extremely early date of issue for an artistic baseball-theme piece, its colorful graphics, exceptional artwork, and incredible decorative value. This is also an extremely rare print. It is one of only three examples we have ever encountered, and only the second we have ever seen at auction. An example with lower margin trimmed appeared as Lot 199 in the famous Halper Collection auction in 1999. In addition to its extraordinary visual appeal, the offered example may also be the finest known in terms of condition. It has only some very light hints of age spots and a tiny tear (no paper loss) near the right border (above the shoulder of the seated player) that has to be pointed out to be seen. A very light stain in the lower right corner is barely detectable from the front and a small corner chip in the lower right has no impact and cannot be seen when matted. These flaws are mentioned strictly for the sake of extreme accuracy. The print displays as Excellent to Mint. All of the original colors remain bold and vibrant. The print is bright and clean and appears exactly as it did when originally produced in 1870. The piece is complete as issued with full margins (not trimmed) and measures 16.25 x 12 inches. It is presented in what appears to be its original matting which has total dimensions of 19 x 15 inches. This is a spectacular nineteeth-century baseball display piece. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000+. SOLD FOR $22,325.00
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