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1914 Federal League Baltimore Opening-Day Panorama - First Game in Federal League History!
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $7,110
This exceedingly rare panoramic photograph captures the action from the first game in Federal League history, played between the Baltimore Terrapins and Buffalo Feds at Terrapin Park in Baltimore on April 13, 1914. Its rarity (we are only aware of two other examples) and historical significance aside, this piece is also one of the finest game-in-progress panoramas we have ever seen. Taken from the perspective of the upper grandstands (in the area between home plate and third base), the photograph encompasses not only the entire field of play, but also the entire grandstand and many outlying buildings. The Terrapins are in the field and based upon the actions of the fielders and batter, it appears that a pitch has just been fouled off. The stands are packed to capacity, and an overflow crowd lines the stadium walls. In the background, numerous fans can be seen on rooftops watching the game. Credit for this remarkable photograph goes to "Hughes Co.," as noted in print along the base. Printed directly to the left of the photo credit is the white-letter caption "Opening Day - Federal League - April 13-1914/Score - Baltimore 3 - Buffalo 2 - Attendance 30,000."
The Federal League was formed in 1914 as a Major League rival to the American and National Leagues. Despite its success in signing many of the game's top stars, the League only lasted two seasons, thus making this photo not only an extraordinary artistic achievement, but an extremely significant historical piece as well. Probably by design, this game was the first Major League game of the season, thus ensuring that for at least one day the Federal League would hold center stage in the baseball world. Any and all materials relating to the short-lived Federal League are exceedingly rare, especially photographic images of this scale. This photo is simply spectacular on all levels. Collectors today would expect to find such a piece only in either the Baseball Hall of Fame or in one of the country's premier private collections. Remarkably, it is also new to the hobby. According to our consignor, who lives in Maryland and who inherited the piece from her father over thirty-five years ago, the panorama has been in her family's possession as long as she can remember.
The photograph (35.5 x 9.25 inches) remains in remarkable condition given its age and fragile nature. Aside from an extremely tiny abrasion in the lower right corner (barely noticeable and mentioned only for the sake of accuracy) the photo is in Near Mint condition and is easily the finest example of this great rarity we have ever seen. It should be further noted that the offered photo is in far superior condition to the only other example we have handled (Lot 1425, May 2011), which realized a final sale price of $10,575. The photo is housed in what appears to be its original wood frame, which measures 38.5 x 12 inches. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $7,110
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