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Lot # 1008: 1894 "Temple Cup Print" by Hy Sandham

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 15 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring Classic 2022",
which ran from 5/20/2022 7:00 PM to
6/11/2022 10:00 PM

Outstanding example of what is generally regarded as the premier nineteenth-century baseball display piece. This enormous black-and-white lithograph was created by noted artist Hy Sandham and pictures a game in progress at the Polo Grounds. The Giants are at bat against an unidentified team wearing dark uniforms. The pitcher is in mid windup, while a runner on first takes off for second. Featured along both the top and bottom borders are individual portraits of forty-four prominent baseball figures from the period, including players, league officials, and team owners, all of whom are identified in print. Sandham has signed the piece in pencil in the lower right corner of the white border. As noted in small type near the top border, this piece was “Printed in Paris – Copyright 1896 by Boussod Valadon & Co., Successors to Goupil & Co., Publishers, Paris, London & New York.”

This is the most impressive of the three different versions of this lithograph produced during the era and the only one featuring two sets of portrait images. (One version has portrait images just along the base, while the other features no portrait images, but has been hand tinted in color). In one of the other versions, the title “A Base Ball Game” is printed along the base; however, collectors have long referred to all three versions of the lithograph as “The 1894 Temple Cup Print.” The main reason for that is because the date 1894 is listed below the artist’s name in the lower right corner of the artwork. (Sandham created the artwork in 1894, but prints were made in subsequent years; the original painting resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame.) 1894 was the first year of the Temple Cup, an annual postseason best-of-seven series that matched the first and second place teams in the National League, and which was the forerunner to today’s World Series. The Giants defeated Baltimore in four straight games to win the first Temple Cup in 1894.

The question of whether the game scene featured here depicts the Temple Cup series or a regular-season contest is secondary to the lithograph's incredible aesthetic appeal. Measuring an impressive 41x28” (visible dimensions) it truly must be seen in person to fully appreciate its scale and exceptional graphics. The piece de resistance is the inclusion of the forty-four portrait images. Those along the upper border picture various League officials, team owners, and managers. The bottom portraits depict the top players in the league. Included here are National League president A. G. Mills, National League secretary Nicholas Young, Harry Wright, A. G. Spalding, Ned Hanlon, Chris Von Der Ahe, Frank Selee, John T. Brush, John Ward, Cy Young, Hugh Duffy, Wilbert Robinson, Cap Anson, Ed Delehanty, Charles Comisky, Roger Connor, and Amos Rusie.

The lithograph displays light toning, light scattered foxing, and a few small areas of very light staining in the white border areas. The piece has also benefitted from professional cleaning. It should be noted that most of the flaws are common to this piece and do not significantly detract from its overall Excellent to Mint appearance. This is a superb example of this important nineteenth-century baseball display piece and one that would be a welcome addition to any advanced collection. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 50.25x37.5". Please note: the size and/or weight of this lot will necessitate an increased shipping charge.

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