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Circa 1888 Baseball Cabinet Card Collection (4)
Starting Bid - $400, Sold For - $1,645
This interesting collection of four circa 1888 baseball cabinet cards is comprised of a rare example issued in conjunction with Spalding's famed 1888/1889 World Tour, and three examples closely related to the production of the N172 Old Judge tobacco card set. 1) Cabinet card issued in conjunction with the famous Spalding 1888/1889 world tour. The photo pictures a gentleman dressed in formal attire who is identified along the base of the photo in vintage black ink as "Donnelly." Printed along the base of the mount is "Spalding's Australian Base Ball Tour - 1888-1889" as well as the name and city of the photographer ("Stevens" and "Chicago"). Advertising for Stevens Art Studio appears on the reverse. Spalding's celebrated 1888/1889 world baseball tour, which is still the most famous overseas baseball tour in history, witnessed the Chicago White Stockings and a group of Major League all stars playing exhibition games in such far off countries as Australia, Egypt, Italy, France, and England. It might seem strange to some that the card refers to the tour as the "Australian Base Ball Tour" as opposed to the "World Tour," which it is commonly referred to today. The reason for that is easily explained. Originally, Spalding only intended to travel to Australia. It wasn't until he reached the Antipodes that the decision was made to "circle the globe." This card was obviously produced prior to the commencement of the tour. We have seen only a few of these special 1888/1889 World Tour commemorative cabinet cards, all of which picture a member of the tour. If the vintage identification on the photo is correct, which is usually but not always the case with vintage identifications (and comparing it to other images we believe it is correct), then this card pictures Jim Donnelly, who was an infielder with the Washington Nationals in 1888 and 1889. (Jim Donnelly is also the only "Donnelly" to play in the Major Leagues at this time). According to all accounts of the tour, Donnelly was not a member of either team, but the publication of this card suggests that he was originally scheduled to make the trip. While the card (4.25 x 6.25 inches) is technically in Good condition, with a moderate horizontal crease along the top portion of the mount and photo, as well as corner wear and moderating toning along the borders, the photo displays outstanding clarity and presents exceptionally well. 2) Cabinet photo of James "Chippy" McGarr produced by Sholten Portraits of St. Louis. This image was used by Goodwin & Co. in 1888 on one of its five N172 tobacco cards of McGarr and the company's copyright notice appears in the upper right quadrant of the photo. The studio photo captures McGarr in full uniform striking a batting pose as a member of the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. The handwritten identification, "McGarr. Short Stop," appears in vintage black fountain pen along the base of the mount. The photographer's credit is printed in the lower left corner and advertising for Sholten Portraits appears on the reverse. McGarr only played with St. Louis in 1888. 4.25 x 6.5 inches. In Good to Very Good condition, with three small areas of surface paper loss on the photo, a small area of surface paper loss on the reverse, and minor edge and corner wear. 3) Cabinet photo of John "Jocko" Milligan produced by Sholten Portraits of St. Louis. This image was used by Goodwin & Co. in 1888 on one of its four N172 tobacco cards of Milligan and a portion of the company's copyright notice appears in the lower left quadrant of the photo. The studio photo captures McGarr in full uniform striking a batting pose as a member of the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. The handwritten identification along the base of the mount, printed in vintage black fountain pen, misspells Milligan's name and identifies him as "Mulligan Catcher." The photographer's credit is printed in the lower left corner and advertising for Sholten Portraits appears on the reverse. Milligan played with St. Louis in both 1888 and 1889. 4.25 x 6.5 inches. In Good to Very Good condition, with a small circular stain on the front of the photo (only visible when viewed at certain angles), minor edge and surface wear, and a small area of surface paper loss on the reverse. 4) Cabinet photo of Martin Sullivan produced by Gilbert & Bacon of Philadelphia. This image was copyrighted by Goodwin & Co. in 1888 (the company's embedded copyright notice is stamped directly on the photo on the left side), indicating that it was considered for use on one of the company's tobacco cards. The fact that none of the three known N172 cards of Sullivan features this image and no N173 cabinet of Sullivan has ever surfaced makes it reasonable to assume that this image was never used by the company in any of its tobacco issues. The studio photo captures Sullivan in full uniform striking a throwing pose as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association. The handwritten identification along the base of the mount, printed in vintage black fountain pen, misspells Sullivan's name and identifies him as "M. Sullivain." The name "Michael J. Sullivan" is also printed in black ink on the reverse, as is the number "16" (meaning unknown). The photographer's credit is printed in the lower left corner and advertising for Gilbert & Bacon appears on the reverse. Sullivan's only year in the Major Leagues was spent with Philadelphia in 1888. 4.25 x 6.5 inches. Without reference to the player identification, the card is in Very Good condition with a diagonal crease in the lower right. This is a particularly sharp looking card, with the "look" of a Kalamazoo Bat cabinet, and in our opinion the highlight of the group. Total: 4 cabinet cards. Reserve $400. Estimate $800+. SOLD FOR $1,645
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