"The Right Hand of Veruschka"

IN FUTURE PACK SECRETS: How does this arm and hand of the iconic 1960s fashion model and genuine Prussian countess help authenticate this rare and expensive photograph? (Hint: it has nothing to do with the way the image is cropped)

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PACK SECRETS for May 31 2004
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Identifying ORIGINAL CHARLES CONLON PHOTOS by Examining the Backs

An early 1900s editor for The Sporting News, Charles M. Conlon remains the most famous baseball photographer of all time. He shot many of the most famous images of early baseball, including of legends like Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio and Christy Mathewson.

Conlon's old employer, The Sporting News, has a nice section about their photographer, including a nice article Conlon wrote about himself:

As you might expect, there is great market demand for Conlon's photographs and his photos of Hall of Famers can fetch high prices, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. While not rare as the hen teeth photos of Carl Horner of Joseph Hall, many of his original photos are difficult to identify due to Conlon's inconsistent marking. While the popular contemporary photographers like George Burke and Horner made the collector's life easy by clearly including their names on nearly every of their photos, Conlon often did not stamp his and his handwriting was messy and not intuitively decipherable. I've seen numerous cases where the collector or dealer did not realize he owned an original Conlon.

The easiest way to identify most original Charles Conlons is by looking at the photo's back and examining the stamping and handwriting. Most photos are identified by the presence of one of his stamps and/or his distinctive handwriting.

* 1) Personal stamp: He often placed one of his stamps, including his name and often with an address, on the photo's back. Of course this makes the photo simple to identify as his. But he didn't always use his stamp.

* 2) Conlon's signature, initial and/or notes. Usually in pencil, Conlon often signed his last name ('Conlon') or his initial ('C') and hastily circled it. He wrote his last name with a big 'C' followed by a hasty small-lettered 'onlon.' His handwriting is hurried and often messy. He also usually wrote a caption of the image or similar notes at the top. Again, his handwriting his hurried and messy.

Deail showing Conlon's stamp and circled last name (Image provided by Julie Vognar. Thanks to Kevin Struss who also kindly provided images for me to look at for this article).

In cases, Conlon did not stamp or even sign his photos, but most are marked with his stamp and/or signature or initial.


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