1887 Detroit Wolverines Team Cabinet Card

Sold For: $1,763

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 42

Item Year: 1887

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

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The 1887 World's Champion Detroit Wolverines are commemorated on this rare photographic team card featuring cameo portraits of fourteen team members, including Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers, Sam Thompson, and Ed Hanlon. Each player is identified in small type beneath his portrait, though it must be noted that many of the names are extremely faint and that of Pete Conway (pictured in the lower left) is no longer legible. The fourteen team members pictured here are manager Bill Watkins, Dan Brouthers, Sam Thompson, Ed Hanlon, Deacon White, Fred Dunlap, Hardy Richardson, Charlie Getzien, Larry Twitchell, Lady Baldwin, Jack Rowe, Charlie Bennett, Charlie Ganzel, and Pete Conway. The photographer's credit, "Tomlinson - Detroit" is printed on the mount below. The reverse displays advertising for the Tomlinson photography studio. Research indicates that all of the portrait images on this card, with the exception of Dunlap, Conway, and Ganzel, were taken by Tomlinson in the spring of 1886. The portraits of Dunlap, Conway, and Ganzel, however, date from the spring of 1887, thereby conclusively dating this team cabinet to 1887. This card is interesting in that while the composite photo is identical to that displayed on the few other 1887 Detroit team cabinets we have seen, the mount is not. All of the other known mounts for this particular 1887 Detroit team composite photo bear the printed notation "Detroit Base Ball Club 1887 - Champions of the League" as opposed to the Tomlinson credit stamp (the same advertisement for the Tomlinson studio appears on the reverse). The fact that the offered example does not include reference to the club's World Championship on the mount leads us to believe that it was probably produced earlier in the season. After the club won the World Series, Tomlinson most likely had a special commemorative mount made in anticipation of future sales. It is also possible, however, that this particular composite photo was produced after the series. Perhaps demand for the card was so great that Tomlinson ran out of the "champions" mounts and simply used his standard mount for later orders. Regardless of the exact circumstances behind its creation, it remains both an unusual and extremely rare team cabinet dating to Detroit's first World Championship. The 1887 World Series, matching the National League champion Detroit Wolverines vs. the American Association champion St. Louis Browns, was the longest on record and featured a best-of-fifteen series played in ten different cities. Detroit actually clinched the Series 8-3 after game eleven; however, the teams played out the remaining four games for the fans (and the gate receipts, no doubt), and the Wolverines are officially credited today with a ten games to five World Series victory. The cabinet card (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays a number of flaws, including a diagonal chip in the upper left corner of the photograph, as well as a few smaller tears and surface wrinkles. Good condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,763

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