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Lot # 1175 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1888 John Clarkson Conly Studios Photo League Schedule

Starting Bid - $1,000.00 , Sold For - $4,993.75

This exceedingly rare National League schedule for the season of 1888 features an actual 2 x 4-inch photograph of Hall of Famer John Clarkson on the front that has a design and appearance similar to some of the rarest and most desirable of all nineteenth-century baseball card issues. This piece is actually far rarer than even the rarest nineteenth-century baseball sample cards, with only three or four examples known to exist. All feature John Clarkson. This is not one of a set. Issued jointly as a promotional piece by the well-known Boston photography studio of Conly and the printing firm of Alfred Mudge & Son, the piece, at first glance, resembles a fold-over scorecard from the era. However, when the two sturdy card-like pages comprising the design are opened, the interior displays not line-up cards, but the complete National League schedule for 1888. Photographer Conly Studio's copyright notice is printed directly under the mounted Clarkson portrait photo, and the front cover prominently features the company names of both Conly and Boston printer Alfred Mudge & Son. The back cover again displays the names of each firm, along with a calendar for the whole year, a listing of Boston's home dates, and the dates for a number of local Ivy League college baseball games. In addition to its remarkably high-quality production (this item has to be seen to be believed, it is so well made), extraordinary appearance, great display value, and extreme rarity, this piece is also exceptional in terms of condition. The Clarkson photo is in Near Mint condition with perfect clarity and contrast. This has always been one of our favorite 1880s baseball memorabilia items. It has the presence of an extraordinary card rarity, is extremely substantial, but is different from any other item of the era. No set of cards is identical in size or design to this Clarkson photo, but if there were, the set would be one of the most highly prized of all pre-1900 card issues. This is a newly discovered example, consigned by a noncollector in the midwest who is involved in design as a profession. He happened to come across this item decades ago and saved it not because he was a baseball fan, but because he appreciated the elaborate design and extraordinary production values of the item. The Conly advertising text below Clarkson's portrait ("Photo. Copyright, By Conly, 1888") is so similar to the lettering of S. F. Hess cards of the same year, that we believe this suggests that the S. F. Hess cards were perhaps also produced by Conly and/or Mudge. The schedule (3.75 x 6 inches), which is printed on heavy stock, has only a tiny area of light discoloration in the top right corner of the front cover, of no consequence, and the back cover has only a small area of very light toning and one small area of adhesive residue. None of these flaws in any way detracts from the piece's extraordinary visual appeal and it grades overall Excellent to Mint. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $4,993.75

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