Photography was in its infancy. So, too, was a new sport called “Base Ball.” The Civil War would soon throw America into turmoil but in 1860, some young men in Brooklyn were enjoying the opportunity to spend an afternoon playing an organized form of what would become the national pastime.
Now, a new discovery has brought a third copy of what amounts to their team photo to the market. Heritage Auctions will offer an 1860 carte-de-viste (CDV) of the Atlantics team in its Spring Sports Card Auction where it’s expected to bring a six-figure price.
The last example to come to market was on display at the National Sports Collectors Convention in 2015 and sold by Heritage for $179,250 a few weeks later.
We’re told the example being offered by Heritage this spring has been in one family, passed down for generations from the ancestor who originally acquired it in 1860.
The cards were produced by Brooklyn’s Farach & Lalumia Studio and are still the only pre-Civil War team card. The Atlantics were a powerhouse team in the early days of organized ball and a founding member of the sport’s first organized league, the National Association of Base Ball Players. They won the league’s title in 1859, 1860 and the war-shortened 1861 season.
The players are posed in their bib-style uniforms, one with a thick-handled bat resting against his leg. Richard “Dickey” Pierce, a pioneer at the shortstop position and father of the “tricky hit”, now known as the bunt, is among the group. The 2-3/8” x 3 7/8” photo has been authenticated and graded VG 3 by SGC. Other than some expected corner and edge wear, the only significant flaw appears to be a small area of paper loss in the lower left. Faded writing is visible on the back, with the studio’s stamp in the middle.
The card will be among hundreds of trading card lots in the auction, which is scheduled for April 18-19.