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Circa 1860 Large-Format Baseball Salt-Print Photograph
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,058
Rare salt print photograph, circa 1860, featuring an unidentified baseball player. The formal studio photograph, printed on very thin paper and mounted onto a cardboard backing, pictures the player in full uniform holding a bat. As was common at the time for salt prints, the photo has been beautifully hand colored to accentuate all of the uniform components and equipment: shirt, belt, pants, socks, shoes, and bat. It should be noted the high level of expertise displayed here indicates that the coloring was executed by a professional studio, probably at great expense. The large format of this photograph makes it particularly ideal for display, as intended. The salt print was one of the earliest paper-based photographic processes developed and was used mainly between the years 1840 and 1860. After 1860, the albumen print became the most common form of paper photograph and salt prints were rarely produced. Photography and baseball were both in their infancy at the time this print was made, making it both rare and desirable in each field. Salt prints of baseball subjects are exceedingly rare, almost to the point of being nonexistent. This is not only the first example we have ever handled, but may even be the first we have ever seen. The photo (5.75 x 9.25 inches) is mounted onto its original cardboard backing (8 x 9.5 inches) that displays samples of paint color in the margins (that would be covered when framed) left by the original artist. The price "$10" is written in pencil in the top margin of the mount. A small pencil notation appears on the reverse ("10/show/RT"). The photo is in Excellent condition overall; the mount is also Excellent, with some light toning and minor foxing on the reverse. This is an outstanding, extremely early, and extremely rare style museum-quality baseball photograph. From the Ron Menchine Collection. Reserve $300. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,058
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