Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Harry Schafer in a formal studio setting. It is interesting to note that an ornate baseball pin is clearly visible on his left breast (the same pin can be seen on the vest of his Red Stockings teammates Charles Gould and Ross Barnes on separate CDVs in the collection). This is just the second example of this CDV we have seen. The other originated from the personal collection of his Boston Red Stockings teammate George Wright.
Harry Schafer, who began his amateur career with the Philadelphia Athletics, played eight seasons of professional baseball, all with the Boston Red Stockings. He joined the Red Stockings as the starting third baseman during the club's 1871 inaugural season in the National Association and remained with them through 1875 season. After the demise of the National Association, he remained with the Red Stockings when they joined the newly formed National League in 1876. During his tenure with the Red Stockings, Schaefer won six league championships in total and he finished with a career batting average of .271.
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 (2.5x4 inches) has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.