Thursday, August 25, 2016

Charles M. Conlon Collection of Vintage Photo Negatives to Close this Weekend

Of all the auction listings I've seen over the years I can fairly say that this lot ranks as one of the best to ever become available.  Featured at Heritage Auctions (Auction Link Here) is the finest collection of vintage Baseball photographs (actually original glass plate negatives) to ever hit the market.  In fact, it is a treasure trove of Baseball history that is unmatched, and it would be a shame if it did not end up in the hands of an civic institution or museum.

Heritage has for sale (closing this weekend) an collection of 7,462 glass plate negatives taken by legendary Baseball photographer Charles M. Conlon.  They date from the early 1900's to the 1940's, and feature pics that many of you have seen before.  Heck, I don't think it would be unfair to name Conlon the Baseball version of nature photographer Ansel Adams.  His work is that well known and revered.  As for collectors, you should recognize his name from the numerous vintage looking Baseball card sets released by the Sporting News in the early 90's. 

As you may know, this collections comes to the market under very unusual circumstances.  They were originally housed in the archives of The Sporting News, then subsequently purchased by John Rogers Archive in 2010 with the purpose of monetizing the photos.  As is want in a hobby that often resembles the wild west, scandal ensued this new owner.  He has since been investigated for bank fraud and counterfeit sports memorabilia, and faces numerous lawsuits from newspapers throughout the country.  As a part of bankruptcy proceedings currently ongoing this collection will now be sold to a new group to pay off creditors. 

There's no telling at what value this collection will sell for.  The auction house thinks it should reach over $1Million, and I think that's right.  Hopefully, it'll land in a place that will allow the Baseball-loving public to enjoy it.

I took a bit of time to grab some of the photos seen on the website in this post.  You can check those below.  I only wish they took the time to scan more of the negatives than they did.  Nevertheless, the grouping they do show are absolutely remarkable. 

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