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1894 Baltimore Orioles Team Cabinet Card Including McGraw, Keeler, and Jennings (Alpha Photo-Engraving Portrait Images) - Newly Discovered Example
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $11,850.00
Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. This extremely rare team cabinet card (which is new to the hobby and was only just recently discovered in the attic of our consignor's very old family home!) features cameo portraits of sixteen members of the 1894 National League Champion Baltimore Orioles: Ned Hanlon (Mgr.), John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Dan Brouthers, Wilbert Robinson, Kid Gleason, Steve Brodie, Boileryard Clarke, Joe Kelley, Heinie Reitz, Sadie McMahon, Bill Hawke, Duke Esper, Gorge Hemming, and Frank Bonner. Each player is pictured in formal attire, complete with boutonniere, and is identified in print below his respective image. Of special note is the fact that the portrait images used on this cabinet card are the very same as those which appear in the 1894 Baltimore Orioles Alpha Photo-Engraving card set. The photographer’s name and address (“Betz - 415 & 417 N. Washington St., Baltimore, Md.") are printed along the base of the mount. The year “1894” is displayed at the top as part of the photograph's elaborate design, which also includes a small American flag with a diagonal stripe reading "Champions." Interestingly, while the few other examples of this card we have seen are blank backed, the offered example displays a stamp from a local merchant on the reverse: "Loebs Sale/46 &105/W. Baltimore St./above Hanover." Also appearing on the reverse is the handwritten pencil notation "Baltimore City/October 2nd 1894." The Orioles' regular season schedule ended on September 30th in 1894 and the Temple Cup began on October 4th.
The Orioles captured their first of three consecutive pennants in 1894. The team also won World Championships in 1896 and 1897, thus firmly establishing the Orioles as the top team of the decade. The Orioles, aside from their obvious talent on the field, are also remembered today for their fiery demeanor and, at times, their total disregard for the rules of the game. Led by future Hall of Famer John McGraw, the team adopted a “win at all costs” mentality that included tripping and holding opposing players as they ran the bases, spiking players, and hiding balls in the tall outfield grass on defense. Baseball-team cabinet cards from the 1890s are particularly rare, far more so than cabinets from the 1880s, and an example of the Baltimore Orioles is especially significant. This example was just recently discovered by our consignor in her family's attic and has not seen the light of day in decades. That fact is no doubt responsible for its remarkable state of preservation. This is only the fourth example of this rare team cabinet we have ever offered and it is by far the finest in terms of condition. The mounted photograph offers exceptional clarity and contrast, with a few tiny traces of purple ink the only noticeable flaw. The cabinet-card mount (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays a tiny area of light discoloration along the base of the front; however, it is free of any chips or tears. While the technically accurate grade of GOOD 30 is largely the result of the notation on the reverse and the aforementioned minor flaws, the card displays as Excellent. As such it represents one of the finest examples extant of this significant team cabinet. This is an extremely impressive-looking and exceptionally rare team composite cabinet photograph of one of the greatest teams of the nineteenth century, a team for which very few cards of any kind exist. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000++. SOLD FOR $11,850.00
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