Rare style carte-de-visite of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all-professional team. Encapsulated and labeled "Authentic" by SGC. This CDV of the 1869 Red Stockings is one of the hobby's most classic and historically significant baseball cards. There are actually several different styles of 1869 Red Stockings team cards, all featuring the same photograph but displaying slightly different mounts. This is a very unusual variety, with the team name appearing under the team image on the mount ("RED STOCKING B. B. CLUB OF CINCINNATI") and all players identified on the reverse (both extremely desirable design elements that are not shared by all 1869 Cincinnati Reds team CDVs).
When this card was issued, the new technologies allowing for the mass production of photographs were in their infancy. Various popular subjects were candidates for such cards, especially famous political figures, entertainers, and historically significant geographical and architectural sites from far away places. These carte-de-visite photographs were intended to be saved and stored in albums. In an age without television and little travel, these cards were a revolutionary tool allowing people to learn about the world around them. It is not surprising that photographs of the 1869 Red Stockings were a popular subject purchased and saved by fans. Led by Harry and George Wright, the Red Stockings toured the nation and went undefeated for ninety-two consecutive games. Because of their dominance, the team was a legend in its own day, though at the time, of course, no one could have imagined the impact they would have on the game. Just two years later the National Association, baseball's first all-professional league, was formed in large part because of the success of the Red Stockings. Shortly thereafter, in 1876, the American Association gave way to the National League and baseball officially became big business. The photo displays slightly light contrast (a trait common to nearly all known examples) and a tiny chip in the lower left corner. The contrast is very respectable for an 1869 Red Stockings CDV, as evidenced by the fact that the Cincinnati uniform logos and the identifying numbers on each player (which correspond to the player identifications on the reverse) are clearly discernible. There are a number of very light creases running through both the photo and mount, most of which are only visible at certain angles when viewed from the front. The mount displays moderate edge wear, including a chip in the upper left corner, and a small chip along the bottom border that affects a portion of the word "Club" in the printed text. A minor diagonal crease is also visible in the lower left corner. The actual photograph compares very favorably to other examples, with great visual appeal and displays as Excellent. This is an extremely desirable and rare variation of one of baseball-card collecting's greatest classics. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+.
SOLD FOR $11,750
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