Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Andy Leonard, former member of the legendary 1869 Boston Red Stockings. Produced by the renowned Warren Studio of Boston. This is one of only two examples of this CDV we have ever seen. The other originated from the personal collection of his Hall of Fame teammate George Wright.
Andy Leonard was one of the game's top players during the 1870s, however, he is probably best remembered today for his membership on the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball first all-professional team. Leonard later played with the Olympics of the National Association during the league's 1871 inaugural season before reuniting with Harry Wright on the Boston Red Stockings in 1872. Leonard remained a member of the Red Stockings through the 1878 season, where he helped the club win four National Association titles and two National League championships. An outstanding player on both offense and defense, he finished his career with a .299 lifetime average.
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 (2.5x3.75") has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.