Circa 1885 Alexander Cartwright Albumen Display Photograph (Ex-Cartwright Family Archives)

Sold For: $4,200

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1459

Item Year: 1885

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Presented is an extraordinary original formal studio portrait of Alexander Cartwright Jr., one of the few first-generation period images of Cartwright in existence, that originates directly from the Cartwright family. This is a very famous image which has been reproduced countless times in various books and publications. The original albumen photograph features Alexander Cartwright in Hawaii, circa 1885. He is holding a presentation fire chief's horn in this posed studio photo. Alexander Joy Cartwright was one of the original Knickerbockers and is widely recognized as the individual who can most truly lay claim to being "The Man Who Invented Baseball." In recognition of his great contributions to the game, Cartwright was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1939. Any photograph of Cartwright is extremely rare and significant. A modest total of approximately ten original images of Cartwright are known to exist, including several daguerreotype and ambrotype photographs. In 1849, following Cartwright's great contributions to the formation of the Knickerbockers BBC and in helping to codify the earliest formal rules of baseball, he traveled cross-country from New York to California, drawn by a taste for adventure and the lure of the gold rush. Not long after his arrival in California, Cartwright sailed to Hawaii, where he remained for the rest of his life as one of Hawaii's most prominent citizens. In Hawaii, Cartwright was very active in many organizations. He founded both the library of Hawaii and the fire department, which explains why he is pictured in this formal portrait with a fire horn and presentation fire hat. Cartwright died in Hawaii in 1892. This photo, as well as the few other known examples, originates directly from the Cartwright family, who sold nearly all of Alexander Cartwright's personal effects many years ago. The fact that its provenance can be traced directly to the Cartwright family adds an extraordinary dimension of significance to this almost impossibly rare original image of Alexander Cartwright, one of baseball's most celebrated pioneers. In assembling a gallery of images of significant Hall of Famers, let alone images with exceptional display value, Cartwright is without question among the rarest. No history of the game and its development can be told without referencing the great contributions of Alexander Joy Cartwright, "The Man Who Invented Baseball." Measuring an extremely impressive 7 x 9 inches, this original photograph is deserving of prominent display in the most advanced collection or museum setting. Exquisitely matted and framed to dimensions of 15 x 17.25 inches. With flawless contrast. In apparent Near Mint condition. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open).


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