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1888 Spalding World Tour Balloonist Cabinet Card
Starting Bid - $50.00, Sold For - $290.00
Presenting... Professor C. Bartholomew, professional "Balloon Ascension Specialist." What is a circa 1888 cabinet card of a balloonist doing in this catalog at all, let alone in this section? "World famous" daredevil balloonist and parachutist "Professor Bartholomew" was a professional entertainer who performed with a hot-air balloon, trapeze, and parachute. He accompanied Spalding's World Tour of 1888 as an extra draw for spectators, and to "warm up the crowds." Jumping by parachute and flying in balloons (let alone both) in this pre-aviation era was seen as extremely unusual, daring, and dangerous. His act was very well received, and early in the tour, newspaper accounts in Australia give Bartholomew most of the credit for making the tour a success ("He and he alone drew 7000 people to the M.C.C. Ground..."). A serious accident while performing before a game in Ballarat, Australia, left the Professor on crutches and unable to jump for the rest of the tour, which was especially unfortunate as Bartholomew had come to be considered the proven draw for the tour in Australia. In this rare studio cabinet photograph, Bartholomew stands in front of a very elaborate sideshow style banner with flying balloons. The mount has a fancy deckle edge, with advertising for Hodges Photographic Studios of Stugis, Michigan, below the photograph. 4.25 x 6.5 inches. Excellent condition. Reserve $50. Estimate $100/$200. SOLD FOR $290.00
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