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1888 Joseph Hall Cabinet John Ward (N338 S. F. Hess & Co. Style and Pose)
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $4,994
Possibly unique original "N338-2 S. F. Hess & Co. style" cabinet-card photograph of Hall of Famer John Ward, produced in circa 1888 by renowned baseball photographer Joseph Hall. The formal studio photo pictures Ward in uniform, as a member of the New York Giants. The reverse features a large and very elaborate advertisement for the Joseph Hall photography studio, located in Brooklyn, New York. This card was one of the great highlights of an extremely significant recent find of nineteenth-century baseball cabinet cards, a number of which featured the very same design and photos as used in the extremely rare 1888 N338-2 S. F. Hess tobacco-card issue. This extraordinary cabinet photo of John Ward is essentially a giant version of Ward's S. F. Hess tobacco card (a great rarity in its own right, and one that would sell for many thousands in any condition). With its distinctive oval-style portrait design, and featuring the identical portrait used in the S. F. Hess series, at a glance the cabinet looks like a giant S. F. Hess card of John Ward. (For reference, an example of the smaller S. F. Hess tobacco card of Ward is illustrated in the 1991 Copeland auction catalog, lot 767). Some collectors refer to these as S. F. Hess cabinets, but technically they are studio cabinet portraits by the legendary Joseph Hall, baseball's premier portrait photographer of the era, who supplied the images to S. F. Hess for its N338-2 tobacco-card series. The fact that this card has an elaborate advertisement for Joseph Hall studios on the reverse gives this card another extremely significant dimension of interest to collectors, in addition to its connection to the S. F. Hess tobacco-card series and featuring one of the most prominent Hall of Famers of the nineteenth-century. The photo is bright and clean, with some light stray marks in the lower right, a heavy semicircle crease with surface tear to the left of Ward's face, and a second small crease (with possible surface tear) in the middle of the right edge. The mount (4.25 x 6.25 inches) has wear on the edges and corners, and is technically in Good condition overall. Ward has been identified twice; once lightly in pencil at the very bottom of the photo, and the other in vintage black ink on the mount directly below his image. The reverse has the number "3" written in blue ink in the upper right. This is a fascinating and very likely unique cabinet card of John Ward. Encapsulated as Authentic by SGC. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,994
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