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1924 Kansas City vs. Hilldale - "First Colored World Series" Panorama
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $29,375
Extraordinary and monumentally significant original panoramic photograph capturing the members of the Kansas City Monarchs, champions of the Negro National League, and the Hilldale Daisies, champions of the Eastern Colored League, posing together prior to Game 5 in the inaugural 1924 Negro League World Series. A total of eight future Hall of Fame players and/or executives are pictured here: Rube Foster (president of the Negro National League), Alex Pompez (owner of the New York Cubans and vice-president of the Negro National League), J. L. Wilkinson (owner of the Kansas City Monarchs and secretary/vice-president of the Negro National League), Judy Johnson (Hilldale), Biz Mackey (Hilldale), Louis Santop (Hilldale), Jose Mendez (player/manager for Kansas City), and Wilber "Bullet" Rogan (Kansas City). Other notables among the forty-one individuals pictured include Ed Bolden (owner of the Hilldale Daisies and founder of the Eastern Colored League), Frank Warfield (player/manager of Hilldale), Jess "Nip" Winters (Hilldale; considered the greatest pitcher in Eastern Colored League history), Phil Cockrell (Hilldale), Walter "Dobie" Moore (Kansas City), William Bell Sr. (Kansas City), Walter "Newt" Joseph (Kansas City), Oscar "Heavy" Johnson (Kansas City), and Hurley McNair (Kansas City). The white-lettered caption along the top reads "First Colored World Series/Opening Game, Oct 11, 1924/ Kansas City, MO." (The "Opening Game" notation in the caption actually refers to the opening game played at Kansas City, not the opening game of the Series.) Each player is identified in white lettering directly below his image. The photographer's credit, "Photo by J. E. Miller, K. C.," appears in the lower right corner.
This is an exceedingly rare Negro League photo and the first example we have ever seen dating from the first official Negro League World series held in 1924. The earliest Negro League World Series panorama we have ever handled was one from 1925 (picturing these same two clubs) that appeared as Lot 254 in our May 2004 auction. That example, which was one of the many highlights from the legendary Jeff Eastland Collection, realized a final sales price of $13,800. We believe these photographs were produced exclusively for presentation to the Hilldale and Kansas City players and league executives, which would explain their great rarity today. 1924 marked the first ever official Negro League World Series, which matched the champions of the Negro National League against the champions of the Eastern Colored League in a best-of-nine series. To maximize attendance, the Series took place in a number of cities: Philadelphia (Games 1 and 2), Baltimore (Games 3 and 4), Kansas City (Games 5, 6 and 7), and Chicago (Games 8, 9, and 10). Ten games were necessary to complete the Series because Game 3 ended in a 6-6 tie. Kansas City eventually emerged as the Champions, winning the tenth and deciding game by a score of 5-0. The photo (35.5 x 6.75 inches), which exhibits flawless contrast and optimal clarity, displays a number of minor flaws, including a few areas of minor surface abrasions (mainly above the players' images in the upper left quadrant of the photo), edge wear, a minor water stain in the upper left corner, and a few smaller dark stains, the largest of which (approximately .5 x 1 inches) appears directly above the image of George "Tank" Carr of Hilldale. While technically in Very Good condition, none of flaws seriously affects any of the player images and the piece displays beautifully as intended. This is a remarkable museum-quality piece and one of the most historically significant Negro League photographs in existence. Housed in what appears to be its original wood frame (37 x 8 inches). Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000/$10,000. SOLD FOR $29,375
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