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1891 Conly Studio Boston Red Stockings American Association Champions Cabinet Card Set with Hugh Duffy and Dan Brouthers (9)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $7,050
Each of these nine baseball cabinet photos was produced by the Conly Photographic Studios of Boston, Massachusetts, and each pictures an individual member of the 1891 Boston Red Stockings, champions of the American Association in that league's final season of operation. Conly was one of the most prominent professional photographers specializing in baseball player images in the Boston area in the 1890s. This series is all the more interesting in that it is essentially a set unto itself, featuring players from the same team, and this may be the closest to a set ever issued of this significant Major League team. The early 1890s was a time of great turmoil in the business of professional baseball. The Players League, the National League, and the American Association all vied for the attention and support of the ticket-buying public in 1890. The Players League survived only the one season, but the financially weakened American Association, a major league since 1883, also fell victim to the heated competition. The 1891 season was the swan song of the legendary second Major League, and the Boston Red Stockings were its premier team and final champions. This set (which may have originally included additional subjects) features nine members of this great team, including Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy and Dan Brouthers.
Each cabinet card is identical in design and features a sepia photo of the player dressed in formal attire. The photographer's name and city ("Conly" and "Boston") is printed along the front base of the mount, and the reverse features advertising for the Conly studio. While the two Hall of Fame players included here are each easily recognizable, the identification of the remaining players represented in this collection is provided at a glance by the period calligraphic handwritten identifications neatly printed in black fountain pen at the base of each mount (very likely done by the studio). Condition varies greatly, but the reverse of each cabinet card displays adhesive residue (very likely as a result of at one time being mounted in a large display to create the working art for the production of a cabinet card or other photographic display by Conly Studios) and a single number lightly written in pencil (different number for each card). The collection consists of the following (grades without reference to glue on backs): 1) Hugh Duffy; Good, with foxing and surface paper loss on the both the front and reverse of the mount. 2) Dan Brouthers; Good to Very Good, with a tack hole in each corner. 3) Bill Daley; Excellent. 4) Hardy Richardson; Good to Very Good, with a tack hole in each corner, light foxing, and surface paper loss on the reverse. 5) Paul Radford; Very Good, with light foxing. 6) Darby O'Brien; Very Good to Excellent. 7) Morgan Murphy; Excellent. 8) Arthur Irwin; Excellent to Mint. 9) Tom Brown; Poor to Fair. This is a fascinating and very likely unique cabinet-card collection featuring members of the 1891 Boston Red Stockings, the last champions of the American Association. Total: 9 cabinet cards. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,050
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