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Illustrated History Index

The Origins: Early Photographys (1839-1879)
The Origins: Early Prints (1850-1885)
Early Trade Cards and the First Baseball Cards (1868-1879)
The Tobacco Revolution (1886-1899)
Non Commercial Cabinets & Photos of the 1880's-90's
Baseball Albums
Forgeries

Non Commercial Photographs of the 1880's and 90's

1888 Joseph Hall Cabinet of St. Louis Club

While the small Cartes de Viste had been phased out, Cabinet Photographs were in vogue for non-commercial uses into the early 20th century. They continued to depict everything from stars and major leaguers to youths and amateurs. Teams are rarer than single players. Most are studio photographs taken in studios or outside by studio photographers.

. Photography continued to advance. Nearing to the end of the century the exposure time shortened to a fraction of a second. This meant that natural poses and even action photographs could be taken. George Eastman invented the Kodak camera which allowed average people to take their own photographs. Gelatin silver prints largely replaced Albumen prints. Photographs from each successive decade are more plentiful (90's more plentiful than 80's than 70's)..

As with cards, condition is important to price. As egg whites are unstable, nearly all albumen prints found today have at least some deterioration. In particular the white areas of a photograph will have turned yellowish and there will often be foxing (spots). Other wear such as creases, scratches and damage to mount are important factors. As you may expect, the highest prices are given to high grade photographs depicting famous players and teams. An attractive 19th century photograph of a Hall of Famer will most probably sell for over $1,000. Exceptional pieces can sell for well over $10,000.

The desirability of an obscure subject is in the eye of the beholder. Equipment collectors might like a picture that shows vintage balls and bats and catchers masks. A cute kid in uniform with his dog may be irresistible to some. Condition of the photograph is key to price. An unusual and attractive mount is often desirable. High condition and attractive cabinets can sell for several hundred dollars. Unimpressive cabinets can be obtained for under $100.

It is important to single out the 1888 Joseph Hall Cabinets of major league teams. One is shown at top. These are amongst the rarest, most desirable and expensive Cabinets. Joseph Hall was a prominent photographer, responsible for many of the Old Judge images. There are currently eighteen different known of these Joseph Hall Cabinets picturing fourteen teams. The Cabinets have Hall's name and studio address at the bottom, along with the team and players names. One of these Joseph Hall cabinets would prove to be the centerpiece of many collections.

1880 Cabinet of a Boston Minor League Team, made by the prestigious Chickering Studio

1880 Cabinet of the Santee Mission (NE) Team

1880s Photograph of King Kelley, Hall of Fame. The original owner had cut the photo to fit into a 3-3/4" copper frame with glass cover. Even in its trimmed form it sold for over $400. Items of the charismatic Kelley always fetch high prices.

1885 Cabinets of Harvard Players: Notice with the right two cabinets that the exact same 'rock' is used with different background and floor covering.

1888 Cabinet of a California League Team

1890 Photograph of Sandlot Game in Minnesota

 

1890 Imperial Photograph of Brooklyn Player's League: Imperial photographs are much larger than Cabinets. It took a large camera and negative in order to make one. Imperials are quite desirable and expensive. This picture is historically significant. The great pitcher and shortstop John M. Ward (pictured above), helped form the breakaway Player's League. It was a short-lived attempt to escape the perceived oppressive National League owners. The above would sell or $10,000 to $20,000.

1890 Cabinet of a Women's Team, in wooden/glass frame: It is fair to assume that the writing on the bottom is the initials of the players. Notice also the elaborate cut of the mount.

1894 Cabinet of Jake Beckley. 'Eagle Eye' Beckley holds the major league record for most games played by a first baseman and is a member of the Hall of Fame. This cabinet sold in national auction for $900

1890 Photograph of Saint Paul Fire Department Team

 

1890 Bott Brothers Columbus (Ohio) Team: Stylish composites team photographs were popular. This is one of the more unusual designs.

 

1896-97 Patterson Minor League Team with Honus Wagner. A twenty-two year old Wagner is pictured third from the left, back row. This photograph sold for over $1,000

Late 1890s Cabinet of Mickey Welch, Hall of Fame pitcher. This shows 'Smiling Mickey' late in his career (and not smiling).

1898 Cabinet of Jack Chesbro as a minor leaguer. This desirable Cabinet shows future Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro in his Richmond, VA minor league uniform. The photograph was taken by a local studio, and predates Chesbro's cataloged baseball cards. This specimen sold for $1,400.

Cabinet of boy, girl, dog and bat

 

1895 Cabinet of California teenage team

detail of above photograph

Turn of the Century Photograph of backyard baseball

Main Index

The Origins: Early Photographys (1839-1879)
The Origins: Early Prints (1850-1885)
Early Trade Cards and the First Baseball Cards (1868-1879)
The Tobacco Revolution (1886-1899)
Non Commercial Cabinets & Photos of the 1880's-90's
Baseball Albums
Forgeries

 

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