1887 Prang Baseball Lithograph

Sold For: $2,700

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1482

Item Year: 1887

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Classic full-color, detailed, game-in-progress lithographic print from the very well known and revered lithographer Louis A. Prang. The scene captures a batter running to first base while the shortstop attempts to catch the ball. Although the teams are unidentified, the consensus among collectors and historians is that the player depicted at the end of the bench with his knees crossed is Hall of Famer Adrian "Cap" Anson, who was the premier player of his day. This is one of the most famous and highly prized of all nineteenth-century baseball display prints and one that is seldom seen at auction (we have only sold four others in the past twelve years). The print (23 x 19 inches) has been mounted to a sturdy cardboard backing and displays a small one-inch diagonal tear along the left border. A few handwritten pencil notations, which refer to matting instructions, appear along the border areas. An additional notation (in what appears to be vintage black fountain pen), reading "By Prang 1868," is located in the lower right corner. (That date is obviously in error: this piece was produced in 1887.) A color bar is located along the base and linear editing marks are visible along all four borders, indicating that this may be a color proof. There is adhesive residue on the top border from a previous matting. (This is mentioned strictly for the sake of accuracy as neither the written pencil notations nor the adhesive residue are visible when properly matted.) This is an outstanding high-quality example of this classic and expensively produced museum-caliber lithographic print that is ideal for display. The image area itself is Near Mint in appearance. Framed to total dimensions of 27.25 x 23.25 inches. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+.

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