1888 Gilbert & Bacon Cabinet John Henry, Athletics - N173 Old Judge Proof

Sold For: $480

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 80

Item Year: 1888

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

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Unusual N173 Goodwin Old Judge cabinet proof of infielder John Henry. Produced by Gilbert & Bacon Photographic Studios of Philadelphia, the card is embossed "Copyrighted 1888, Goodwin & Co." in the lower right. Gilbert & Bacon was the premier baseball photographic studio in Philadelphia during the 1880s, and provided many images for use by Goodwin in the N172 and N173 Old Judge series. The "proof" cabinets, which feature the image on a mount with advertising for the studio in the lower margin, that were produced by the studio were not only provided to Goodwin & Co. or other companies for their commercial use but were also often given to players, family, or made available to the public as a means of advertising. This is a fascinating and particularly beautiful cabinet card with tremendous photo clarity. Henry is depicted holding a ball in both hands at chest level (pose #224-5). A very elaborate advertisement for Gilbert & Bacon covers the entire reverse. Interestingly, the issued Old Judge card of Henry that uses this image mistakenly identifies him as a member of the Philadelphia Quakers. Henry signed with the Quakers on March 9, 1888, but he failed to make the club. Prior to that he played with Cleveland of the National League in 1884, then with Baltimore of the American Association in 1885. In 1886 he rejoined the National League as a member of Washington. He did not play in the majors again until 1890, when he joined the National League Giants for his final season. The vintage pencil notations on the reverse make note of his mislabeled card and read "John Henry 1888 51 years old never played for Phillies." The card (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays a small vertical tear along the base of the mount, moderate edge wear, and both paper residue and loss on the reverse from having been removed from an album. In Very Good condition overall. This would be a significant and worthy addition to even the most advanced nineteenth-century baseball collection. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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