Famed baseball photographer Charles M. Conlon took the classic photo of Cleveland’s Nap Lajoie that we see represented here by famed baseball artist Arthur K. Miller. Measuring 14″ x 7″ before framing, the acrylic on masonite work was commissioned in 2006 and is a brilliant representation of the timeless image of Lajoie holding his bat, gazing off into the distance. Conlon’s photo is likely the most recognizable image of “The Frenchman,” having been reproduced countless times with the pose notably featured on Nap’s T3 Turkey Red cabinet card – one of the most coveted in the set.
Maine artist Arthur K Miller is one of the best known contemporary baseball artists, his work having been featured at the National Baseball Hall of Fame for years. It was in the early 1990s that Miller began painting portraits of ballplayers who thrived before the development of color photography.
Set against a clear, blue sky, Lajoie’s imposing figure dominates the image, the intensity of his glare captured as well by the painter as it was by the photographer when the original image was taken. Standing upon an expanse of lush infield grass, the detail in the foreground is captivating, from the blades of grass under Lajoie’s feet to the shine on his shoes. Few contemporary artists are more adept at effectively capturing the detail, emotion, and intensity exhibited in classic sports photography.
An original work of art, framed for hanging and signed by the artist, “Nap Lajoie, 1904” was painted in 2006 and presented by the George Krevsky Gallery of San Francisco. A one-of-a-kind piece and an outstanding representation of contemporary sports art.
Another absolutely gorgeous display piece, this composite photo from 1907 features the players and managers from each of the eight teams of the 1907 Eastern League. Exquisitely framed to approximately 25 1/2 x 21″, the photo is comprised of members of the Rochester Bronchos, Jersey City Skeeters, Newark Sailors, Providence Grays, Baltimore Orioles, Buffalo Bisons and Montreal Royals.
This is a brilliant piece, and not an easy one to find. It contains photos of 119 players, many of whom would go on to play in the majors. Many of the photos in this composite were later used on baseball cards, notably in the T206 issue (which included many players depicted here). All eight managers – including Hall of Famers Hugh Duffy and Joe Kelley – are also depicted.
A wonderful article of baseball history that documents one of early baseball’s stronger minor leagues, the composite depicts dozens of players that appeared in the majors. It makes for a spectacular display, one of the most beautiful we’ve seen.
We’re also offering a number of different books and pamphlets relating to early baseball, including a March, 1913 edition of Baseball Magazine featuring Frank Chance on the cover, and a collection of early 20th Century baseball equipment guides that includes specimens from Sporting Life, Reach, Spalding, and Ken-Wel. Additionally, we’ve got a beautiful copy of the sheet music for “Husky Hans,” William J Hartz’ 1904 composition dedicated to the one and only Honus Wagner. While “Husky Hans” sheet music has been less scarce due to a relatively recent find, few are in this kind of exceptional condition.
The auction also features a collection of nine 1900 PD1 pinback buttons, all without advertising on the front, all featuring players with red uniforms and cream backgrounds. The PD1 set includes 12 different pins featuring generic players with their position printed on the pin. Often found with advertising on the front, they can be found with both gold and cream-colored backgrounds, and with both red and blue player uniforms. Just three buttons shy of a complete set, we’re offering a very consistent collection of this scarce and interesting pinback button issue.
Equally interesting is this collection of 1913 “Baseball Series” cards. Once mistaken for blank-backed “proof” cards from the E95 and E96 issue, these “cards” were later discovered to have been hand-cut from a series of baseball-themed notebook covers issued in 1913, which featured reproductions of the E95 and E96 cards printed on them. Each notebook cover featured five cards, and the covers were blank-backed.
We are featuring a collection of ten of the twenty known cards, including Red Ames, Chief Bender (HOF), Mordecai Brown (HOF), Art Devlin, Wild Bill Donovan, Ed Konetchy, Harry Krause, Chief Meyers, John Pfeister, and Joe Tinker (HOF). Despite the fact that all of these cards are printed on thin paper and hand-cut from the notebook cover, the majority present very well. Rarely does a collector have an opportunity to acquire such a large percentage of the known cards from this scarce and unusual set.
The last item we’ll highlight today is this extraordinary tintype, likely dating to the 1870s or 1880s, among the earliest photographic images of baseball in this country. This image depicts a family playing baseball outside a home, a young woman holding a ball, preparing to pitch to a young man in a baseball uniform. Also in the photo is an older woman, preparing to catch the pitch, and a small girl, standing by, watching. They’re all too close together! Somebody’s going to get hurt!
As is typically the case with baseball-related tintypes, the player featured is not identified. However, this is a very unusual photo, in that the majority of tintypes are studio photos, taken indoors. This one was clearly taken outside, in a yard. As with many tintypes, this one has several imperfections which includes some minor scratching and two clipped corners. Still, a strong image and a unique subject, a family playing baseball together out in the yard.