1899 Jimmy Collins "Chickering Studios" Imperial Cabinet Photo

Sold For: $11,750

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1179

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Extraordinary Imperial cabinet photo of Hall of Fame third baseman Jimmy Collins produced in 1899 by extremely prominent Boston studio photographer Elmer Chickering. Chickering was responsible for virtually all quality images of the Boston Nationals in the 1890s. This is not only the most impressive baseball player portrait cabinet of the era we have ever offered, it is also by far the finest nineteenth-century image of Collins we have ever seen. The formal studio photo (7.5 x 8.75 inches) features a bust-length image of Collins as he poses in his home uniform and is lettered “James Collins” at the base of his image. The photographer’s copyright notice (“Copyright by E. Chickering - '99") appears in the lower right. The photographer’s name and address also appear in silver lettering on the base of the mount. Traditional studio baseball cabinet cards dating from the very late 1890s are particularly rare and unusual. Nineteenth-century studio cabinet cards almost always date from the 1880s, and were largely phased out by the mid-1890s, let alone the late 1890s. In addition, between the years 1895 and 1900 very few photographic images of Major League teams and players of any type were produced, an output that stands in stark contrast to the large number of such photos created during the previous decade. The offered cabinet photo is even more extraordinary given its size, which is twice as large as standard cabinet photos, and its incredible high quality. Imperial cabinet photos of this nature were almost always created for special presentation or display, and, we might add, at great expense. If any Boston player merited such special treatment in 1899 it was Jimmy Collins. The previous year Collins enjoyed what was arguably his finest all-around season at the plate as he batted .328 with a league-leading 15 home runs and 111 RBI. He was also considered the finest fielding third baseman of his era and the first to perfect the barehanded pickup of slow rollers that is the model of execution for the position today. One of Boston's most popular players, Collins jumped to Boston's entry in the newly formed American League in 1901, where he also assumed managerial responsibilities. In 1903 Collins guided the Red Sox to both the pennant and a victory over the Pirates in the first modern-day World Series. He retired after the 1908 season with 65 home runs, 983 RBI, and a .294 lifetime average. In 1945 Collins received his highest honor when he became the first third baseman elected to the Hall of Fame. The photo has flawless contrast and is in Excellent to Mint condition. The mount (8 x 10 inches) retains its original silver accent on its bevel edges, displays just a hint of corner and edge wear, and is in spectacular Excellent condition. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $11,750

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