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Circa 1897 A Base Ball Game Display Print
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $11,750
Stunning example of the circa 1897 A Base Ball Game display print, widely recognized as the definitive nineteenth-century game-in-progress art print. This extraordinary print, published by Brussad, Valadou and Company of Paris, London and New York, features a magnificent baseball game-in-progress illustration by artist "H. Sandham, Boston." Adding to its extraordinary visual appeal is the inclusion of forty-four circular portrait images, featuring the game's top players, managers, and executives, that frame the top and bottom borders. Included among the exquisitely rendered portraits, which are easily mistaken for photographs, are those of Cy Young, Cap Anson, John Ward, Harry Wright, Albert Spalding, Hugh Duffy, Frank Selee, John Brush, Chris Von Der Ahe, A. G. Mills, Wilbert Robinson, Amos Rusie, Ed Hanlon, Nicholas Young, Roger Connor, Ed Delehanty, Charles Comiskey, and George Davis. This print has long been identified in collecting circles as representing the 1894 Temple Cup Series between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Giants, and is commonly referred to as "The Temple Cup Print." The game is clearly at the Polo Grounds and features the New York Giants at bat, but as the formal title of the painting is The Base Ball Game , it is possible that this famous scene represents another game. The Temple Cup Series (1894-1897) was a postseason series of seven games played between the top two teams of the National League, and was the immediate predecessor to today's modern World Series. "The Temple Cup Print" is universally recognized as one of the most impressive and artistic of all nineteenth-century display pieces. This print was issued in several different styles, including with or without player portraits, and was sometimes hand-colored by professional artists of the day who specialized in preparing such prints for prominent home display. The offered example is the classic black-and-white game-in-progress scene with portraits. While this may very well represent a specific and historically significant baseball series, it also presents as an extraordinary and beautiful generic nineteenth-century baseball scene, making it especially ideal for display in many venues. Of special note is the fact that this print bears the pencil signature "Hy Sandham" in the lower right corner. Signed examples of this print are exceedingly rare, indicating that this almost certainly was a special presentation piece received directly from the artist. Sandham is a highly regarded artist and his original 1894 painting of this scene is in the collection of the Hall of Fame. The print measures 42.5 x 29 inches and has been mounted to total dimensions of 45 x 31 inches. (The mounting process was obviously done long ago, quite possibly at the turn of the century.) The piece has undergone very minor professional repair and has a few extremely small tears, almost all edge tears. This has no impact on the visual splendor of the piece, and the fact that it has been so well cared for and professionally mounted (the vintage equivalent of linen-backing for ideal preservation and display) is a great positive. Some extremely light toning, and residual framing marks along the edges from having once been framed (of no consequence and not visible when framed again). In outstanding condition, all the more so given its age and size, presenting in Excellent condition at very least. Also of special note is the very significant provenance of this example: It was once a part of the personal collection of legendary collector/dealer/auctioneer Lew Lipset (author of The Encyclopedia of Baseball Cards ). This is a world-class museum-quality high-grade example of one of collecting's most important and magnificent nineteenth-century baseball displays. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $11,750
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