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It’s thought that a small mill calling itself the Fishmuth Tobacco Co. sponsored the trading card issue that we reverently esteem as “Just So.” To date, 15 different subjects – all rostered with the 1893 Cleveland Spiders – have been confirmed (with a cumulative known accounting of fewer than 30 total cards). The Spiders were franchised in the National League, and though a respectable club in that era, they never won a pennant. Rather at the summit of their 13-year experience, they fielded such Hall of Fame luminaries as Cy Young, Buck Ewing, and John Clarkson. Here available is an original photograph of Clarkson – an image that served as the model for his 1893 “Just So” baseball card. On the reverse of this piece we find a stamped copyright reserving the photo’s disposition to “the Gilliams Press Syndicate…” The paper photograph measures 3-3/4” x 5-1/2” (consistent with the image application of a period cabinet card). Among the Gilliams Press Syndicate’s customers for this image was the Fishmuth Tobacco Co. who adapted it for their “Just So” card production. This piece is qualified by a couple harmless (transparent) stains that don’t encroach Clarkson’s image. (These were likely incurred upon the photo’s development.) We also note a very small imperfection at the photo’s extreme upper right corner. The piece is otherwise above objection – strong corners with no creases, and perfect resolution – EX/MT-NM.
1893 John Clarkson Original Photograph – Commissioned for “Just So” Tobacco Card Issue
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