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1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Photographic Disc
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,819
Extremely rare photographic disc, which we believe to be the only known example, features a composite image of all nine starting players on the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team. Pictured on this round original albumen photo are manager Harry Wright, George Wright, Charlie Gould, Asa Brainard, Andy Leonard, Doug Allison, Cal McVey, Fred Waterman, and Charlie Sweasy. Each bust-length image pictures the player in uniform and although the contrast between the jerseys and the photographic background is a little light, one can still easily make out the club's distinctive Old English "C" lettered on the front of the jerseys worn by Harry Wright and Andy Leonard. This is an incredibly rare piece, possibly unique, yet will be familiar to many advanced collectors and scholars as it appears as a prominent illustration in a very highly acclaimed volume on baseball history. This very piece is the plate specimen illustrated on page 87 in Mark Alvarez's fine reference work The Old Ball Game: Baseball's Beginnings (Redefinition Inc., 1995). Credited as being from the collection of Ron Menchine, the albumen photo disc is identified in the caption as being a pin. From the front, the piece does appear to be a pin; however, an examination of the reverse reveals just a plain paper backing that has light surface paper loss to approximately fifty percent of its total area. While not technically a pin, it is likely that this disc was originally part of a pinback badge of some type, and was probably once mounted to a ribbon badge. The number "12" (meaning unknown) is lightly written in pencil on the reverse. Because of its rarity (we have never seen another), little more is known about this piece. Despite its enigmatic nature, it remains a fascinating and unique photographic piece that would fit in many types of collections, and an historic keepsake commemorating one of the most storied teams in history. The Cincinnati Red Stockings toured the country in 1869, taking on all comers, and finished the season with fifty-seven wins and no defeats (other accounts credit the club with as many as sixty-one wins). The Red Stockings traveled some 12,000 miles that summer and played in front of approximately 200,000 fans, all of whom paid for the privilege of seeing baseball's greatest team. While the tour only netted the club a total profit of $1.39, it proved that professionalism in baseball was a viable business venture and laid the groundwork for the formation of the National Association, baseball's first all-professional league, just two years later in 1871. The photographic disc (1.5 inches in diameter) displays light wear and is in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. From the Ron Menchine Collection. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,819
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