One of the earliest baseball team photographs ever to reach the auction block, one featuring the godfather of professional baseball, is now on the market.’
An 1868 Cincinnati Red Stockings original cabinet photograph leads off Heritage Auctions’ Icons Photography Auction. It’s expected to sell for $80,000 or more.
The image pictures the team that would launch professional baseball just one year later.
The matte that surrounds the photo was added later and carries the words “First Nine.”
Among those pictured is Harry Wright, the pioneering Hall of Famer whose contributions to baseball included defensive shifts and the scorecard. A year later, Harry Wright’s brother George would join the team. Both are now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The players’ names and positions are written in fountain pen outside the edges of the image and include Asa Brainard, Rufus King, Charles Grant, and Fred Waterman. President A.B. Champion appears in an inset, as do other team officers. The date is printed, each number separately, in the illustration of a belt at the bottom.
The central image measures approximately 9×13″, with each of the corner photographic vignettes about 1.25×1″. According to Heritage, the top of the piece has been slightly trimmed. Including the frame, the piece measures 18.5×21.5″.
Bidding runs through October 12.