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    Circa 1891 William "Buck" Ewing & Mike "King" Kelly Cabinet Photograph, SGC Authentic. One of the most remarkable and significant photographic finds to surface in the sports collectibles realm in recent memory, this probably unique cabinet card serves as a living tribute to the two greatest figures of late nineteenth century baseball, William "Buck" Ewing and Mike "King" Kelly. Our suspicion of a 1891 vintage is related to the short-lived rogue franchise established that year by the latter, an unsuccessful attempt at baseball autonomy nicknamed the Cincinnati Kelly's Killers. Both men had resisted the tyranny of late 1880's National League ownership, jumping ship to the single-season experiment of the Players' League in 1890, but the Brotherhood failed to stand beyond that season's close. It is likely a show of labor solidarity, and an unfounded optimism for this new venture, that is meant to be conveyed by this image of the pair shaking hands in front of a gargantuan flower arrangement spelling "Our Kell."

    This much we can say with confidence-it is almost certainly the only photographic image populated by both of these early legends, as the pair never shared a dugout during their respective Hall of Fame careers. We can also report that, should such a relic exist, it couldn't possibly compete with the remarkable state of preservation the presented example enjoys. A minimal degree of soiling is apparent on the blank verso, but the image itself is free of creases, wrinkles or surface abrasions, with a smooth, glossy finish. Bragging rights, an investment piece, a historical treasure-it is all of these things and more. Dimensions 4.25x6.25", encapsulated "Authentic" by SGC.

    More Information:

    The Cincinnati Find of Nineteenth Century Baseball Cabinet Photographs.


    It seems only fitting that the most significant find of early baseball photography in recent memory should surface in a city with such an essential role in the early professional game.  While the precise history of this volume of fifty cabinets has been lost beneath the sands of time, our strong suspicion is that the genesis lies in the family of William "Buck" Ewing, the Hall of Fame catcher, who appears several times in the imagery.  Even more compelling is the appearance of his brother John Ewing, who is pictured both as a member of his elder sibling's 1891 New York Giants, and also on various minor league squads.  There would appear to be no other reason for such a wide (and occasionally obscure) cross-section of Ewing-related imagery other than a family derivation.

    Even dismissing any thoughts of original ownership, the imagery stands firmly on its own, in terms of both content and condition, which leaves little indication of the passing of a dozen decades.  It's a view into the early game rarely encountered in this hobby, and an opportunity not to be taken lightly.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2013
    2nd-4th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,301

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