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    The father (and grandfather) of the professional game

    Circa 1865 Sam & Harry Wright Carte-de-Visite (CDV) SGC 40 VG 3. Wright's contributions to the early development of our national pastime place him right alongside Cartwright and Doubleday as one of baseball's most noteworthy pioneers. He was the founder and center fielder of the the first professional ball club, the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, invented the box scoring system, designed the standard baseball uniform and was the first to direct his defense to shift in relation to hitters' tendencies. Overstatement is nearly impossible when contextualizing the significance of Wright within baseball history at large.

    This early image of the trailblazing Hall of Famer finds Harry gripping a cricket ball in his hands beside his father Sam, who leans upon a cricket bat. The elder Wright had been a professional cricketer in his native England before emigrating to the United States, where he'd gain employment as a bowler, coach and groundskeeper at St. George's Cricket Club in Manhattan. It's easy to see how the genetic predisposition to the batted ball led the Wright brothers to their seminal roles in our national pastime. The image finds Harry as a member of the famous New York Knickerbockers baseball team.

    The sepia studio image is rendered with extraordinarily fine contrast and clarity, giving way to studio stamping on reverse that establishes derivation from the photographic studio of "E & H.T. Anthony, 501 Broadway, New York, from Photographic Negative in Brady's National Portrait Gallery." The "Brady" in question is, of course, Matthew Brady, best remembered for his images of President Abraham Lincoln and the carnage of the American Civil War.

    While the experts at SGC come to their VG assessment reasonably, the visual faults are far less apparent than the technical grade would suggest. You'll note a small imperfection to the photographic emulsion at the right edge and, of course, the standard corner rounding endemic to nearly every CDV of this advanced vintage. Dimensions are 2.5x4".

    This is one of only four Matthew Brady CDV's known to exist, and when this specific example was first sold in a 1997 Butterfield & Butterfield auction, it was described as having originated from a CDV photo album with Wright family provenance. This can be verified by the photo imperfection on the right side, a perfect match to the CDV sold in the Butterfield auction catalog.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2017
    25th-26th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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