1875 Hartford Blues CDV with Candy Cummings - Newly Discovered Example!

Sold For: $17,625

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 31

Item Year: 1875

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Cards (1830-1899)

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Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. Rare and extremely historically significant CDV of the 1875 Hartford Blues, including Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings. The formal studio photo pictures ten members of the club posing together in uniform, including Cummings (standing in the center), player/manager Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson (seated in the center), and the first Jewish ballplayer, Lip Pike, sitting second from left in the bottom row. The photographer's name and city, "Prescott & White - Hartford," is printed on the reverse. Candy Cummings, in addition to being one of the top pitchers of the National Association (baseball's first professional league), and a member of baseball's Hall of Fame, is best known today as the inventor of the curve ball. Surprisingly, despite his widespread fame, photos of Cummings are practically nonexistent. This CDV is one of the very few known images of Cummings dating to his playing career. The 1875 Hartford Blues team CDV is well known but exceedingly rare. We have only seen a handful of other examples and it is probable that fewer than ten have survived the ages. The offered CDV is new to the hobby and the story of its discovery is sure to be appreciated by other collectors. This piece was purchased by our consignor on eBay as part of a collection of random nineteenth-century CDVs, none of which, besides this one, was baseball related. Our consignor just happened to spot it in the image provided by the eBay seller, literally buried in the large group photo of the lot, but peeking out from the group just enough to allow for probable identification of the CDV as the 1875 Hartford club. The buyer's hundreds (perhaps thousands) of hours of diligently looking through old photographs on eBay for a needle-in-a-haystack "find" were finally rewarded by this 1875 Hartford CDV. Cummings enjoyed the finest season of his career in 1875. As the workhorse of the staff, Cummings finished the year with a 35-12 record, a 1.60 ERA, and league-leading totals for both shutouts (7) and strikeouts (82). Cummings' career included time in both the American Association and National League, and he also briefly served as the first president of the newly formed International Association (minor league) in 1876. The mount (4.25 x 2.5 inches) displays four horizontal scratches/indentations on the right side of the mount, two of which extend about .25 inches into the photo and touch upon the image of the player seated on the far right. Without regard to the scratches/indentations, both the photo and mount are in Excellent condition and the piece as a whole presents much better than its technically accurate grade would suggest. The photo presents with outstanding clarity and contrast, while the mount displays only minor edge wear. This is a remarkable, newly discovered example of this important rarity. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $17,625

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