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Old Judge-Related P. H. Mayo & Brother Tobacco Co. Prototype Cabinet Card
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $830
One of the most interesting items to surface relating to nineteenth-century baseball cards: an Old Judge style photograph of John Doran of the Omaha Club of the Western Association mounted on a sturdy cardboard stock. Of special note is the fact that this pose of Doran does not appear in the Old Judge set. Along the top reads "P. H. Mayo & Brother Tobacco Co." The photograph is very similar to an Old Judge cabinet, and in fact reads "Copyright 1888 Goodwin & Co" in small print in the lower right exactly as one would expect of an N172 Old Judge card or N173 Old Judge cabinet card. Of course, no card set of this design was ever issued by Mayo, though perhaps one was once contemplated. The photograph is accompanied by an envelope in which it was apparently mailed, addressed to "Mr. Thomas B. Doran, Columbia Ave, Omaha, Nebraska." The preprinted return address on the envelope is "Wendel Photographic Art Studios of New York," beneath which is written in pencil "Per Goodwin & Co." The purpose, or even the exact year of production, of this photograph is unknown. While most would assume this photo dates from 1888, our research suggests that this print does not date to the nineteenth century, but was in fact made after 1900. Wendell Photographic Art Studios was in business at the address on the envelope starting in 1902, through the late teens. It is also unknown why the photograph would even be sent to Thomas Doran, but we can only speculate that it was at his request. Most of the various known Old Judge photographs that are similar to this example surfaced with an extraordinary group of original glass plate negatives that were used to produce N172 cards. (The entire find is commonly referred to as "The Vermont Find" because the material was discovered in Vermont.) The glass negatives, with good reason, are universally recognized as the greatest find of all time of original materials relating to the production of the N172 and N173 Old Judge baseball cards. The photos that accompanied have been the source of confusion, as it appears they are post-1900. Perhaps the Doran is a missing link in terms of understanding the photos? We don't know! We do know that this photograph is proof that no matter how much material surfaces over the years, there is always the promise of a new discovery of significance relating to cards which will fascinate even the most advanced collectors. The contrast of the photograph is flawless. There is a light horizontal crease through Doran's feet (barely visible), some minor chipping along the bottom border (possibly as made) and a small crease in the lower right corner. It is otherwise in Excellent condition. The mount measures 4.75 x 7.75 inches. The envelope is missing the top flap and has a few small tears, but is still in overall Good condition. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $830
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