This early baseball carte-de-visite (commonly referred to as a "CDV") features two members of the Albany Base Ball Club and has the distinction of being the very card used as plate number 16 in Mark Rucker's groundbreaking work Baseball Cartes - The First Baseball Cards
(self-published, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1988). Produced by Churchill & Denison of Albany, New York, as noted by the proprietary stamp on the reverse. In addition to providing the year (1865) and team affiliation for both players, Rucker also identifies each by their last name only. Of the two, it seems that more information is known about the player on the right, identified as "McClure." According to Rucker, McClure was a second baseman who also played for the National B.B.C., "a team that played against Cincinnati on their cross-country tours." The photo is so crystal clear, it is fascinating to note that the design of McClure's uniform belt, which can easily be seen in great detail, incorporates in its design the words "Championship Belt." The other gentleman is identified simply as "Phillips," with that identification most likely solely based upon the vintage handwritten pencil notation on the reverse reading "Phillips 66." CDVs were the most popular form of early mass-produced photography, and its introduction to the public coincided with both the Civil War and the growing popularity of baseball. All 1860s CDVs featuring baseball images dating from circa 1865 are extremely rare, especially those picturing identifiable players. The CDV (2.375 x 4 inches) displays outstanding clarity and contrast, has four clipped corners, and a tiny surface abrasion along the top border. The technical flaws of the mount aside, the photo is practically flawless and presents as Near Mint. A U.S. Government two-cent tax stamp and postmark (as required by law from 1864 to 1866), which are extremely desirable, appear on the reverse. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+.
SOLD FOR $2,350
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