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1890 Chicago White Stockings Players' League Display Photograph
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,015
Extraordinary composite display photograph picturing fifteen members of Chicago's entry in the 1890 Players' League, including Hall of Famers Charles Comiskey and Hugh Duffy. Each player is pictured in formal attire and identified in lettering below his respective image. The players featured here are Comiskey, Duffy, Pfeffer, Williamson, King, Darling, O'Neil, Farrell, Latham, Bastian, Ryan, Boyle, Baldwin, Bartson, and Dwyer. "Chicago White Stocking B.B.C - 1890" is printed along the bottom. This is an unusually large and impressive display photograph that was obviously produced at great expense. It is on thick stock (not unlike a giant cabinet card) as made. This piece was probably produced early in the season, as the only roster player not included in the photo is Frank Shugart, who made his Major League debut with the White Stockings on August 23rd. The Players' League, which was formed as a direct rival to both the National League and American Association, lasted only one season. Despite the ultimate failure of the League, it was successful in luring many of the game's top players into its fold. The Chicago club pictured here drew heavily from both its National League counterpart, as well as the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. Despite the abundance of talent, Chicago finished in fourth place, ten games behind the League champion Boston Reds. Any and all material relating to the one-year Players League is exceedingly rare, especially display pieces of any kind, let alone of this quality. This is the only example of this photo we have ever seen and its provenance within the collecting world is equally impressive. For many years this display photograph resided in the legendary Barry Halper Collection. It was sold in the historic Halper Collection auction held in New York City in 1999 (Lot 299), where it realized a final sales price of $4,025. The photo (14 x 16 inches) has a few minor technical flaws, including a slight two-inch vertical tear extending down from the top border, some very light water staining, a tiny area of light "touch up" to Comiskey's portrait image, and a minor abrasion in the lower right corner. The photograph displays beautifully, as intended. The minor condition anomalies are all fairly unobtrusive (mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy) and do not affect the overall magnificent Excellent appearance of the piece. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 17 x 19 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,015
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