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Imperial Size 1926 New York Yankees Display Team Photo from Yankee Stadium
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $6,463
Enormous team photograph display, measuring 39 x 22 inches, capturing thirty-one members of the American League champion New York Yankees posing together in front of the grandstand at Yankee Stadium, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, manager Miller Huggins, Herb Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, Waite Hoyt, Earle Combs, and Bob Meusel. The notation, "American League - 1926 - Champions" is lettered in white along the black base. The size and rarity of this photo is directly related to its special provenance. This piece, along with all of the other few known 1920s-era Yankees team display photographs of this size and style, was originally displayed in the old Yankee Stadium. Each of these large team photo displays is unique. The quality can vary a little from year to year, with the earliest examples (such as the 1926 team offered here) being of the highest quality. Like all of the other Imperial size Yankees team photo displays that once decorated the interior of "The House That Ruth Built" (all are of similar size and composition, representing different years), the 1926 Yankees stadium display photo first entered the collecting community in 1973 during the renovation of Yankee Stadium. It had been displayed at Yankee Stadium for decades. When Yankee Stadium was renovated, seats, wall displays, and all types of treasures that today would be worth a fortune were sold to the only person who would take them: the brilliant Bert Sugar, who was (and is to this day) a great collector, entrepreneur, author, and boxing journalist (as well as TV commentator, actor, historian, Damon Runyonesque throwback to another era, walking dictionary, member of the Boxing Hall of Fame, and general all-around genius) who has always been ahead of his time in everything he did. His contributions just to the world of collecting would take an entire catalog to list. When Bert offered to take the Yankee Stadium "garbage" off their hands, there was no market for it whatsoever (Bert figured he'd worry about creating that later) and even though the cost was modest, it truly was not clear who was getting the better end of the deal. In truth, the people in charge of Yankee Stadium construction and cleanup in 1973 would have probably paid Bert to take the stuff away. Instead, he paid them, and also paid for the material to be hauled out, driven away, and stored. And, eventually, sold. Most of the magnificent Imperial display team photographs eventually found their way into the fabled Barry Halper Collection, where they remained on display for many years before being sold at public auction in 1999, along with the majority of Halper's collection. This extraordinary 1926 Yankees team display stands as one of the finest examples known in all respects. The photo, which is mounted to a thick cardboard backing, presents outstanding clarity and contrast, especially for a piece this large. A few minor surface wrinkles are visible upon close examination and there is an area of light water staining (very unobtrusive) in the upper left corner. In addition to minor edge wear, there are a number of very small areas of color restoration present along the top border (in repair of surface abrasions). These minor flaws, nearly all of which are relegated to the perimeter areas, are mentioned merely for the sake of accuracy and do not detract in the least from the photo's Excellent to Mint appearance. It should also be noted that this piece is superior both in photographic composition and condition to nearly all of the other 1920s-era Imperial size Yankee team photo displays known (most of which have similar flaws, but to a greater degree). New York Yankees team photos of this extraordinary size and quality from this era are exceedingly rare and aside from the few that hung in Yankee Stadium, we are aware of no other examples. Framed to total dimensions of 43.25 x 25.5 inches. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $6,463
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