Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Hall of Fame pitcher Candy Cummings, the man who invented the curveball. Produced by the famed Bachrach photography studio of Baltimore, the image captures Cummings in formal attire as he gazes to the right of the camera. This is an exceedingly rare photograph. Not only is it the only example we have ever seen, but, to the best of our knowledge, it represents the only individual photographic image of Cummings ever taken (he is pictured in several team photos from the era). This is the image of Cummings used in every publication and on every website we have seen, and it also appears to be the same image used to create his Hall of Fame plaque.
Candy Cummings was a member of the Baltimore Canaries of the National Association in 1873 only. Given that the CDV was produced by the Bachrach studio of Baltimore, it is reasonable to assume that it dates from his one season with the club. That is also consistent with the fact that the offered image was also used to create the woodcut illustration of Cummings that was part of a Baltimore Canaries team composite featured in the May 5, 1873, issue of the Daily Graphic, a New York City newspaper. Cummings, whose Major League career consisted of four seasons in the National Association and two in the National League, was one of the top pitchers of the early 1870s, winning 145 games during that span. However, he is best remembered today as the man who invented the curveball, which forever changed the course of pitching in baseball, and the major reason for his Hall of Fame induction in 1939.
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 "Bachrach" credit stamp appears on the reverse. The Bachrach studio, which is still in existence today, was founded by David Bachrach in 1868 and quickly became one of the premier photography studios in the country. Known for its portraits of famous individuals, a Bachrach family member has photographed every United States President from Abraham Lincoln to George H. W. Bush. In 1881 the studio changed its name to Bachrach Bros., therefore the offered CDV dates prior to that name change.
As previously noted, the CDV (2.5x3.75 inches) has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.