Exceptional Joe Jackson Original Charles Conlon Photo - PSA/DNA Type 1

Sold For: $32,588

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 10

Item Year: 1913

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Original photograph of Joe Jackson as a member of the Cleveland Indians taken by renowned baseball photographer Charles Conlon. Accompanied by an LOA from PSA/DNA identifying this as an original TYPE 1 Conlon photograph. This is arguably the finest Conlon photograph of Joe Jackson extant, one that captures the essence of the man who at the time was among the game's greatest players. That opinion is obviously shared by author Neal McCabe. When presented the task of sifting through literally thousands of Conlon's photos to produce his highly acclaimed book Baseball's Golden Age - The Photographs of Charles M. Conlon (Harry N. Abrams Inc., New York, 1993), McCabe included this image as one of the 205 he had selected to showcase the photographer's artistry. This is both a haunting and captivating image of Jackson, and one that represents Conlon at his best. What set Conlon apart from his contemporaries was his ability to capture aspects of a player's personality that were not normally reflected in a photograph. In that way, Conlon's lens was more akin to a mirror reflecting the soul of the player. In this image of Jackson, through his forlorn gaze, we can almost anticipate the events of a few short years later that led to his fall from grace and eventual banishment from baseball. Conlon was a New York photographer, and the fact that Jackson is pictured in a Cleveland road jersey means that this photo was taken at the Polo Grounds. (The Yankees rented the Polo Grounds for its home games between the years 1912 and 1922.) Also, although the photo is undated, the uniform style pictured here was only used by Cleveland for the two-year period 1913-1914. Jackson was unquestionably one of the greatest hitters in the game at that time, second only to Cobb. Jackson captured everyone's attention in 1911 when, as a rookie, he batted .408. The following season saw him fall prey to the famed "sophomore jinx," as his average slipped to .395. In 1913 and 1914, the time period from which this photo dates, Jackson batted .373 and .338, respectively. This is the only example of this original Joe Jackson Conlon photo that we have ever seen offered publicly. Our consignor purchased this photo at public auction for $15,496 in 2002 and it has remained in his possession until now. Despite the recent influx of vintage news photos in the marketplace since that time, few, if any, Joe Jackson photos have emerged that can even remotely compare to this piece in terms of artistic quality. This is the quintessential Joe Jackson photo, taken by the finest baseball photographer of that day, and one that has been immortalized within the pages of McCabe's retrospective on Conlon's work. It also a condition rarity for a news photo. The photo (6 x 8 inches) displays Conlon's handwritten pencil notation, "Joe Jackson - Cleveland", on the reverse, as well as tiny remnants of black paper at each corner resulting from it having once been mounted in an album. Without regard to the paper residue on the reverse, the photo is in apparent Near Mint condition. Exceptional in every regard. It should be noted that REA submitted this photo to PSA/DNA and the reason it was not encapsulated was because its size is slightly smaller than the company's standard 8 x 10-inch holder. If it were encapsulated, PSA/DNA felt that there was a risk the photo could possibly be damaged during shipping. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $32,588

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