Thursday, March 07, 2019

1860 CDV of the Brooklyn Atlantics at Heritage Auctions

It's not often that you see a Baseball card from the mid-19th century. Although, I guess you could argue that this isn't really a card -- at least, not the kind we are accustomed to. What this is, in actuality, is a CDV, or carte de visite -- which is just a fancy way of saying it's a vintage photograph mounted on cardboard.

The subject matter is certainly of interest to fans of the Dodgers (Heritage Auction link) and Baseball historians alike. Featured is an 1860 CDV of the famed Brooklyn Atlantics ball club. It is just one of only two known to exist, and it remains the only known pre-Civil War Baseball card in existence. The only other known copy sold in 2015 for an astounding $179,250.00, and I'd be surprised if this copy sold for less. In fact, it should sell for far more since it's clearly in better condition. To see what I mean check out that other card on the right.

As you may know, the Brooklyn Atlantics do not have any direct lineage to the Brooklyn/LA Dodgers -- other than calling the same borough home. Nevertheless, they were, to many early Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball fans, considered a direct link that that storied club. So much so, they nicknamed the 1884 Brooklyn team (a member of the American Association at the time) the Atlantics.

In the photo there are eleven men, but only nine of them are wearing the recognizable bib-front uniforms popular at the time. The other two gents are in suits. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen anyone identify each person individually, but we do know that Richard "Dickey" Pearce is somewhere there. As you may know, Dickey was a legend. He revolutionized the shortstop position and is credited with inventing the "tricky hit" -- known today as the bunt. Per John Thorn at Our Game:
Dickey Pearce was the originator of the present bunt. And that was the hit that transformed batting in his day. It was not known as the bunt at that time, and Dickey himself had no idea that he was making baseball history. But he had the baseball instinct, and that was that a player had to get on first base before he became a factor in the run getting. He appreciated the fact that unless he could reach first there was no possibility of his spikes denting the plate.
I briefly wrote about Dickey, here, in 2015.

On another note, The Brooklyn Atlantics are considered the games first championship club and its first dynasty -- capturing eight National Amateur Association titles from 1857 to 1869. They were also the very first Baseball team to visit the White House. In 1865 President Andrew Jackson invited them for a visit.

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