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Extraordinary 1922 Championship Chicago American Giants vs Kansas City Monarchs Panorama Photograph
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $8,813
Absolutely stunning game-in-progress panoramic display photograph (9 x 32 inches) of 1922 Negro National League Championship series between Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants and the Kansas City Monarchs at Schorling Park in Chicago. Details of the game and the series are provided in the box in the lower left. "Rube Foster's American Giants crush the Kansas City Monarchs 5-4 in 10 innings with the great Rogan pitching." From 1920 to 1923, the top two teams of the Negro National League played a postseason Championship series. Rube Foster's Giants were the unofficial champions the first three years of the league, 1920-1922. The first official Negro League World Series didn't start until 1924. The panorama features a large (4 ½" in height) inset portrait of Rube Foster, who is identified below his portrait as "Rube Foster, The Victor." Titled in large white lettering along the bottom is "Home of Rube Foster's American Giants." This is an absolutely incredible display photograph. Literally thousands of fans are dressed in their Sunday best, surrounding the perimeter of the playing field, with only their respect and desire to not disrupt the game (and a few patrolling police officers at the very edge of the outfield) keeping spectators from spilling over onto the playing field. It appears that every single person is wearing a hat. The players are in action, on the field. The detail of the photograph is simply astonishing. This is the only game-in-progress Negro League panoramic photo we have ever seen. The extraordinary quality, size, detail, significance of the game, and the design of the photographic display, combine to make this piece perhaps the ultimate Negro League panoramic photograph. This panorama was one of the highlight pieces of the legendary Jeff Eastland Collection, which was sold by Robert Edward Auctions in 2004. The offered panorama appeared as Lot 247 in that sale, where it realized a final sales price of $11,500. Looking at this piece once again, seven years later, we are still taken by its striking visual appeal. At the time of its sale in 2004, we felt that this was the one piece in The Jeff Eastland Collection that was a "steal." Even Jeff had paid $15,000 for it and it was the piece that Jeff Eastland himself considered his finest and most important. We were (and are) in complete agreement, and attributed its selling price to the fact that no one could possibly understand the grand nature and extraordinary quality of the panorama from a catalog photo, even if one could understand its enormous historical significance, and maybe also due to the fact that the image of the piece could have been larger in the 2004 catalog (all the more so as it included the matting and frame). We have tried to remedy this in the 2011 catalog! It is a given that is no one set market for unique items, including photographic panoramas, and this piece (which has been consigned directly by the original buyer from the 2004 Jeff Eastland Collection auction) could bring more or less than its previous auction sale price. That said, this is simply the most incredible photographic display in existence relating to Negro League baseball, literally almost too good to be true! It is would be a worthy museum-caliber centerpiece to even the most advanced collection of Negro League display pieces or early baseball photography. This is the only example known to exist. Beautifully framed and matted to dimensions of 17 ½ x 40 inches. Perfect contrast. Near Mint condition. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000/$10,000+. SOLD FOR $8,813
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