One of the more unique items up for bid in RMY Auctions’ June collectors sale is a collection of rare, black and white uncatalogued baseball photographs dating back to the mid 1920s.
Specifically, the photographs are part of a set that is believed to have been issued in 1924. These picture were created by the National Photo Company. RMY states that the set was to commemorate the Washington Senators winning the 1924 World Series. That was similar to the Holland Creameries set, which was produced out of Canada around the same time. Other commemorative issues likely existed, too.
That year, the Senators defeated the New York Giants in seven games to win their first World Series championship. Legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson won the final game of the series, clinching the title for Washington. The Senators would return to the World Series again in 1925 but that time, would fall to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Johnson had not had his best series in 1924, though, he was more than adequate. He dropped his first two starts but won the final one and, collectively, had a 3.00 ERA in the postseason.
The photos are fairly basic looking. They are characterized by thick white borders, black and white player images, and a player’s replica signature on the front. As is the case with most photographs, the backs are blank. The lone exception is a credited copyright stamp with the National Photo Company name, identifying them as the source for this rare issue.
In all, RMY has eight different photos from this unique set that are up for bid – they can be found in Lots 106 through 113 of the auction. The photos are up for sale individually with Johnson headlining the group’s offerings from the set.
Both an individual photograph and a dual photograph (with Muddy Ruel) of Johnson are up for grabs. Those two photographs are expected to be the most valuable ones in the set. Other Senators player photos available in the auction include Tom Zachary, Bucky Harris, Curly Ogden, Earl McNeely, Fred Marberry, and Nemo Leibold. Despite the rarity of these photographs, as of the writing of this article, bidding has not yet topped $100 for any of them just yet. That will likely change, however, with bidding activity generally increasing towards the end of auctions.
According to RMY, interpretation on what exactly these are is somewhat left to the collector’s interpretation. While they are technically real photographs and bear the aforementioned photograph stamps on the back, as the descriptions indicate, some collectors may classify them as a type of card. The photos measure only 4″ x 5″ in size, only a bit larger than standard baseball cards and much smaller than your traditional 8″ x 10″ photos. How or exactly when they were distributed to the public does not appear to be known.
RMY’s auction ends on Saturday night, June 6. Collectors can view the items up for auction and bid through the RMY website. The auction includes hundreds of other pre-war and vintage photographs of baseball players, including Babe Ruth, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and many more, as well as other athletes and non-athletes.