Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Hall of Fame shortstop George Wright. Produced by the renowned Warren Studio of Boston. This is one of only two examples of this CDV we have ever seen, with the other originating directly from George Wright's estate. It should be noted that the offered example is the finer of the two, as Wright's own example had a clipped right corner and oval toning to the photo from its manner of mounting. This photo was most likely taken in 1873 because this very image appears on an 1873 Red Sox team cabinet card, of which we have seen several examples.
George Wright is considered one of the premier baseball players of the nineteenth-century and at the time of this photo perhaps the best player in the game. Brother of Boston Red Stockings player/manager Harry Wright, Wright was the star of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first all professional team. In 1871 he and his brother Harry formed the nucleus of Boston's entry in the American Association, where he helped lead the club to four league championships in five years. In 1876, following the demise of the National Association, Wright remained in Boston, playing in the newly formed National League, where he helped bring Boston two more pennants. He finished his professional career with a .301 lifetime average and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937.
This CDV originates from an extraordinary unprecedented find of early baseball photographs recently discovered in a nineteenth-century photo album, all of which are offered in this auction. Included in the album were team-composite CDVs for seven of the nine founding members of the 1871 National Association, baseball's first professional league, plus individual portrait images of many of the game's earliest stars. Original baseball photos dating from the 1870s are exceedingly rare and for many of the players represented in this collection their offered CDV is not only the first such example we have handled, but in many cases, the only one we have ever seen.
All the CDVs in the collection have been slightly trimmed by the original owner so that they could fit properly within the predesigned album sleeves (a common practice at the time). However, for most, the trim affects the mount only and the photos remain in outstanding condition overall. While the history of the album is unknown (our consignor purchased it from an antique dealer), since nearly all the photos found in the album are of ball clubs or ballplayers from the early 1870s, it most likely belonged to a former player or perhaps a National Association team executive.
A "Warren's" credit stamp appears on the reverse that includes the studio's address ("289 Washington Street, Boston, Mass.") and the notice "Under the Supervision of Mr. S. B. Heald." Based upon that information, this CDV was produced between the years 1872 and 1874 (the studio moved to 289 Washington Street in 1872 and Heald left the company in 1874). As previously noted, the CDV (2.25x3.75") has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.