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Graded 40 VG 3 by SGC. This photo carte-de-visite depicts two prominent figures of the Wright clan, and their mission in America was to promote sporting pastimes. Specifically, these are the patriarch, Sam, who poses with his trusty cricket bat, alongside his eldest son, Harry, who holds what is likely a cricket ball. The station of Harry Wright in our industry needs no introduction, of course. But in his own 'wright,' father Sam was a worthy figure in our rich athletic history. Sam arrived from England about a generation before the Civil War, and he sought to cultivate the British pastime of cricket in the New World. He was a groundsman who engineered the building of several cricket fields in New York City until metro interest in the sport shifted to Hoboken's Elysian Field (of Currier & Ives note). Sam's dream to see his beloved game flourish in America came to grief though as his sons Harry, George and, to a lesser degree, Sam Jr. gravitated to the new sensation, base-ball.
This CDV, measuring the standard 2-1/2" x 4", has been professionally graded as VG. That determination was predicated primarily on a small area of top-ply material damage appearing at the right edge of the image. But we also note that two of the corners bear mild softening. The image of its two famous subjects however is absolutely impeccable—the light and the resolution are optimal.
Magnificently proclaimed on the reverse is the legacy of this antique. It was published by the then renowned printing house, "E. & H. T. Anthony"—a company that was situated at 501 Broadway in New York. Two blocks distant on that famed thoroughfare was the so-called "National Portrait Gallery" as established by Civil War photographer Mathew Brady (who is also credited on this card, naturally). Through much of the later 19th Century, there thrived a working bond between the two entities—Brady provided the source of photographic images, and the Anthony Brothers (Edward and Henry) commercially printed them. The publishing firm was incorporated in 1877, but the photographic image that Brady provided for this CDV is undoubtedly older, perhaps by as much as ten years. (The company was actually in business in the years prior to 1877—including much of the 1860s—under the same name.)
But no matter concerning its several intrigues, this is a treasure of the utmost magnitude. And in a final thought, Sam also begat baseball Hall of Famer, George...who begat Beals, who won a gold medal in tennis at the 1904 Olympics.
Please Note: The date in the title has been corrected; the description contains a clarification.
Circa 1865 Mathew Brady CDV - Sam and Harry Wright
Click above for larger image.