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Lot # 1153 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1960 New York Yankees Photo Archive: 85 Original Photos Taken By LIFE Magazine Photographer Ted Polumbaum

Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $3,525

Presented is one of the most extraordinary and impressive vintage baseball photograph collections ever to surface: a group of eighty-five original black-and-white New York Yankees photographs, each measuring an impressive 9 x 13.5-inches, taken by world-renowned photojournalist Ted Polumbaum in 1960. Polumbaum, who was on assignment for LIFE magazine, captured these remarkable images during the course of a three-game series between the Yankees and Red Sox at Fenway Park in late September 1960. Polumbaum was with the Yankees the entire series and his photographs capture the team members in a variety of activities, including pre-game warm-ups, actual game action, and post-game interaction with the press in the locker room. What makes these photos especially desirable is that none of the shots were posed, all are candid images of the players as they go about their professional lives on the ball field. Further distinguishing this collection is the fact that each photo is unique and, quite literally, represents the only print made of each in 1960. All of the photos offered here were printed in the LIFE magazine lab and no other prints were ever made from the negatives. This collection originates directly from the estate of Ted Polumbaum and was first offered to the collecting community by Robert Edward Auctions in its April 2006 auction (Lot 896) directly from the Polumbaum family. The collection has been consigned to this auction (minus nine photos) from the original purchaser in 2006. Among the many highlights of this collection are the following: 1) One photo of Mantle and Maris posing together as they stand outside the batting cage. 2) Nine photos of Mickey Mantle: two at bat, two on the on-deck circle, two running the bases, one in the dugout, one crossing the plate after a home run, and one clowning around with Elston Howard during warmups. 3) Seven photos of Roger Maris: one at bat, four in the on-deck circle, one in the dugout, and one in the field. 4) Twelve photos of Yogi Berra including one together with Ted Williams (in his last season) at home plate. 5) Six photos of Casey Stengel, including four on-the-field conferences with a pitcher. The remaining photos capture nearly every other starting player during some phase of the game. The only significant player not featured is Whitey Ford, although his face can be seen in the background of a locker-room shot.

Each of the eighty-five black-and-white LIFE magazine contact prints was produced from a 35mm negative, on double-weight, matte-finish 11 x 14-inch fiber paper, trimmed flush by the lab to approximate dimensions of 9 x 13.5 inches (the proportions of the full 35mm negatives). Each bears the LIFE magazine stamp on the reverse that includes the date, assignment name ("Yankees-Red Sox Ball Game") and the photographer's name ("Ted Polumbaum"). Additionally, each photo also bears light pencil notations on the reverse to identify the roll of film and negative. The photos all document a three-game series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox held at Fenway Park on September 23, 24, and 25th, 1960. After each game a courier carried the film to New York for overnight processing and printing; the next morning he brought the prints back to Boston on the early train so the photographer could see the pictures and show them to the players before that day's game. During that process, only one unique print was made and given back to the photographer. These are the only prints ever produced from the negatives. Because of the manner in which the photos were processed and returned to the photographer, nearly all display very minor handling faults. A few of the photos, most notably a Maris photo, display a few minor tears or creases that extend into the image. Overall, the collection is in Excellent to Mint condition. These photos are of such an extraordinary high quality that each would be ideal for gallery framing. Vintage baseball photos of this quality and composition from this era are virtually nonexistent. That fact, combined with their significant subject matter and provenance - originating directly from the estate of the photographer, one of the most famous photojournalists of his time - further distinguishes the collection as one of the most significant photographic collections Robert Edward Auctions has ever had the privilege to offer. These are the only baseball photos of this quality from this era we have ever seen. These have to be seen to be believed. Each photograph is museum-caliber. Total 85 photographs. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,525

(Click the smaller thumbnails to the left and right (if any) to cycle through each photo in the gallery of images for this lot.)