Mastro Spring 2007
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
Fraught with intrigue is this photographic cigar label dating to the late 1880s. It pictures a team image of the mighty New York Giants of that period. With manager James Mutrie at the helm, this nine included a half-dozen players whose legacies are today glorious fixtures in Cooperstown. The photograph was mounted to the underside of a standard balsa cigar box lid. This lid, we note, is detached cleanly at the hinge, and its reverse (the top) smartly proclaims the brand, "Flor de R.V.A.," and promoted as "The New York Ball Club Cigar." (As well remaining on the lid is a trace of the original tax label.) With some qualification, the photo measures 9-1/4" x 4-3/4" and, to be expected, a very small brad hole appears at the uppermost center (to secure the lid to the box itself). The image has uniformly faded somewhat over the years, but the figures of all remain quite discernible. Returning now to the aforementioned "with some qualification," we report that this team photo was superimposed on the lid leaving an earlier applied view exposed along the bottom edge. This latter exposure is about 3/4" wide and runs cleanly to the horizontal dimension of the photograph. Most importantly, it retains Mutrie's copyright claim ("1886") in the lower right corner. The central photograph (picturing all the players and Mutrie) was then, by standard production methods, laminated to the lid—effectively retaining the copyright. Mutrie was relieved of command after the 1891 season, and we're therefore able to isolate the photograph's vintage to the period 1887-1889. (Several of those pictured here bolted to the Players' League in 1890.) In exercising a conscientious effort to identify this team's major celebrities, we interpret Buck Ewing (standing first on the left), Roger Connor (seated at the far right), Monte Ward (seated third from the right), Mickey Welch (seated third from the left), Jim O'Rourke (middle of the standing row), and Tim Keefe (seated at the far right). Distinctly possible in this antique is that a full team photo (from the immediately preceding season) exists beneath the visible image.
Late 1880s "The New York Ball Club Cigar" World Champions Team Photographic Cigar Box Lid
Click above for larger image.