Rare 1929 Philadelphia Athletics Hand-Tinted Composite Photograph

Sold For: $3,259

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 1041

Item Year: 1929

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Extremely rare, possibly unique, hand-tinted composite photograph of the 1929 World Champion Philadelphia Athletics, considered by some to be the greatest team ever assembled. Produced by the photography studio of Burke & Koretke of Chicago, it features bust-length photos of 31 team members, including Foxx, Grove, Simmons, Cochrane, Ehmke, Cronin, Collins and Mack (manager), as well as the club's owners, coaches and even the trainer. While original examples of this piece are quite scarce, the offered photograph is unlike any other we have ever seen. What sets this photograph apart is the fact that it has been expertly hand-painted, over the photo image, to create a unique work of art. Each of the faces is hand-colored in the style of the era resulting in the appearance of a color photograph (a process which had not yet been developed at that time.) Additionally, all of the lettering including the numbers beneath each image, the team name, and the list of names that correspond to the numbers have been painted over with a heavy raised gold paint resulting in an effect similar to gold leaf. The workmanship involved in this piece is of an astounding unparalleled professional caliber, and makes this, very simply, one of the most impressive, stunning and unique display pieces we have ever seen. It is unknown exactly for what purpose this piece was created, but judging from the quality, it is likely that it was produced either as a professionally commissioned artistic tribute or as the basis for an intended color-print reproduction of some kind. Regardless of its exact origins, it remains an incredible photographic and artistic masterpiece unlike any other we have ever seen, featuring one of the greatest teams in baseball history. This extraordinary work of photographic art measures 20 x 8 inches and is in Near Mint condition. Handsomely matted and framed to total dimensions of 25 x 13.25 inches. While by definition there is no formal value for a unique piece such as this, and it may sell for more or less today, our only indication of value is that our consignor purchased this at auction in 2001 for $5,300. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,259

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