Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rare Vintage Baseball Image Found on eBay

It's not often that a vintage photo featuring no professional ballplayers gets so much attention.  In fact, it's just an old 1860's era photograph on cardboard backing (commonly referred to as a CDV or carte de viste) of a group of school children enjoying the growing game of Base Ball during school recess.  Check out the photo above, as well as a blown-up image of just the kids playing ball below.  Also, you can view the original auction here.
(Auction Link)

(Auction Link)
This single 2.5" x 4" photo sold at $3,800.00.  Why so much, you ask?

Well, first of all action photos of the game on CDV form or dated from the 1860's or older are extremely rare.  Like, super rare!... You just don't see them.  The photographic arts was so new back then, they had yet to really figure out action shots.  Granted, considering the placement of the kids on the field (being that they are so close together) you might argue that this was posed for the photographer.  Still, it's a rare image that clearly shows the game.  Furthermore, other like-kind photos from the era usually only show Baseball in the background rather than as the main focus of the photo.  For instance, a 1862 photograph at Fort Pulaski in Georgia shows soldiers standing in formation while other soldiers are seen playing Base Ball in the background (see that here).  Clearly, this photo is just about some kids playing the game.

Additionally, this very same image was specifically featuring in Ken Burns' Baseball documentary.  It can even be found in the companion Baseball documentary book (page 60).  See it below.

So, this photo is iconic and a rarity in the hobby.  A version of the print was also featured in the most important film/documentary to ever record the history of the game.  And, any monied collector interested in the the game's past probably placed a bid.

All I want to know is what the heck are those two kids standing on 2nd and 3rd base doing?  They both have their arms way above their heads in anticipation of a pitch to the batter.  What the heck?

Hat Tip: Leon at the Net54 Message Board.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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