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1908 Leland Giants Real-Photo Postcard with Rube Foster and Pete Hill
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $11,257.50
Extremely rare and significant real-photo postcard capturing eleven members of the Chicago Leland Giants in a traditional team pose. Rube Foster, who was player/manager of the club, is pictured standing in the center of the back row (third from the left). The two other players that we can positively identify are Hall of Fame outfielder Pete Hill (seated, second from the left) and pitcher George Ball (seated, first from the right). The dating of this photo is predicated on the vintage ink notation along the base that reads "Leland Giants 1908." At the very least it dates to either 1908 or 1909, because those were the only two seasons in which Ball played with the club. There is a stamped address on the reverse that reads "Hiestand & Co, 2200 Gladys Av." While our research has been unable to discover any information on "Hiestand & Co.," we can confirm that there is a Gladys Avenue in Chicago. Foster, who was the top pitcher in the Negro Leagues during the early 1900s, formed the Chicago Leland Giants with businessman Frank Leland in 1907. Prior to that he was the star pitcher for Sol White' s Philadelphia Athletics in 1905 and 1906. Foster led the Giants to a 64-22 record in 1908. His partnership with Frank Leland only lasted three seasons and in 1910 the two parted ways, with Foster allowed to use Leland's name for his club that season. The next year Foster founded the powerful Chicago American Giants, one of the top teams in Negro League history. Any and all Negro League photos dating to this time period are exceedingly rare, let alone a team photo of this significance. This is not only the first example of this postcard we have ever seen, but the first example we have seen of this team photo (in any form) as well. The postcard (5.5 x 3.5 inches) displays a slight vertical crease (1.5 inches in length) extending from the bottom border (barely visible, except when viewed at certain angles) and a few small areas of light discoloration on the reverse. The postcard is not addressed. Technically (in our opinion) in Very Good condition, but the photo displays outstanding clarity and is Excellent in its overall appearance. Graded and encapsulated "FAIR 20" by SGC (harshly downgraded due to a trace of glue residue on reverse). Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $11,257.50
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