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Lot # 1123 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1910 Eddie Plank Original Photograph

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,938

This original news photo of Eddie Plank captures the Hall of Fame pitcher in a bust-length image as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics. Plank was an enigmatic individual, whose personality was defined by a serious and deliberate nature. Those traits are hauntingly conveyed in this extraordinary original first generation silver gelatin print. Staring straight ahead, with no emotion in his expressionless eyes, Plank is a perfect study in introspection. Its striking nature notwithstanding, the offered piece also has a unique provenance: the photo archive of the San Francisco Examiner, which, prior to its purchase and breakup, was one of the largest and most significant collections of historic photos in the world. While many baseball photos were present in the Examiner's vast repository, the offered example was widely considered to be among the finest in the group. Although the photo is undated, the combination of jersey and cap style pictured here was only worn by the A's between the years 1909 and 1912. Plank enjoyed two of his finest seasons during that four-year span, winning twenty-three games in 1911 and a career-high twenty-six games the following year. Plank retired in 1917 with 326 wins, which was the most by any left-handed pitcher until Warren Spahn surpassed him in 1962. The photo bears a faded International News Service stamp on the reverse (the stamp appears to be the earliest-known style used by the service, dating from approximately 1909-1912), as well as the stamped name "Eddie Plank." A few period pencil notations, including Plank's name (written three times) are also present on the reverse. The photo (6.5 x 8.5 ) displays two tiny border tears, as well as a number of minor creases. A few small areas of editorial outlining are visible upon close inspection (common to news photos). In Very Good condition overall. Original baseball photos dating from the early 1900s are both scarce and highly prized by collectors, especially those picturing players of Plank's stature. This is an exceptional example in all respects, an extraordinary example of early twentieth-century baseball photography, and the single finest image of Plank we have ever encountered. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,938

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