ADDENDUM: We now know of two other specimens of this card. In our opinion, this changes little if anything regarding the importance of this specimen.
NOTE: Interview regarding piece at bottom as well as link to article about the piece
Look at this! Do you see it? I mean do you really see it? Yeeees, there you go. Yes, it is magnificent. Previously unknown real photo postcard of the 1924 Babe Ruth & Bob Meusel Barnstorming Tour stop in lovely Dunsmuir, California on October 22, 1924. Captivating image was taken from beside the pitcher's mound showing a young Babe Ruth posing with bat at the ready with his touring partner Bob Meusel on the side of the dugout. Looking closer you can see that everything in the world stopped for the movement there in Dunsmuir as local photographer Paul J. Standard (name is printed on verso) takes this amazing photograph. So much so that the entire crowd in the stands behind them is staring intently at the camera as if posed for a family photo or an official photograph. There is an ethereal quality to this, somber in tone, hushed, as if they aware they are making history. As if they knew they would be written about at this very moment and in this way. The contrast is perfect; the detail is pinpoint. The piece even has provenance as it comes with a portrait real photo postcard of the attendee, Mr. Albert Souhrada, who this came from originally. He has even circled his face in green, a symbol of the pride he has for just being there. Ironically, if not for that circle that makes this piece even more special it would have graded far higher than its SGC 2. No matter. A cropped version of this image was the cover of a book on Babe Ruth published within the last 20 years whose title escapes us. The mayor of the town even declared a "half-holiday", a tribute to how special it was that the two Yankee city folk were coming to their town. On the display in the National Baseball Hall of Fame is a cardboard poster advertising this very game. This is better.
The following is an interview with Lelands Chairman and Founding Partner Joshua Leland Evans and Siskiyou Daily News sports editor Bill Choy one of the local papers for Dunsmuir, California where this image was taken.
· Could you tell me a bit about the history of this type of 1924 photo postcard and where people could have gotten these back in 1924.
This was likely sold by the photographer himself. Taking this image would have been a big deal for him and he would have made it a "star" of his portfolio and sold it in his studio (if he had one) and sold various formats (sizes) and even a postcard. It actually "advertises" enlargements on the back. At the time real photo postcards were just one format used by photographers at the time like an 8x10 or a snapshot size.
By using the crowd in the image, the photographer could have purposely made this a marketing device rather than just for mere aesthetics. Who wouldn’t want to have their photo taken with the Babe? Apparently, it worked to some extent as the man circled in green bought one.
· How rare is a photo like this?
Any "local" real photo postcards are rare unless there was a huge "trade" in them or a big stack of them found later (which there not in this case). These were essentially hand made one a time by the photographer. Not like a printed postcard where hundreds, thousands or even millions can be made off a printing press.
· What can you tell me about this photo?
This was taken during Ruth's 1924 Barnstorming tour with Bob Meusel which I believe he got in trouble for by the baseball commissioner. The thing I love about this is the entire crowd in the stands posed for this! Note the crowd are all looking at the photographer as if the world is "stopped" for that moment and it’s all about the Babe. And the man who owned this is in the shot and is circled in green. This was a major moment for the town. It would be like the Beatles coming to play a private concert on a stopover before Shea Stadium!
· There seems to be a strong demand for this item, with the bidding now at more than $13,000. What makes this such a desirable item for collectors?
As I said previously real photo postcards (aka RPPC) were just one format (and a rare one at that) used by photographers of the time. However, they are far more desirable than just a regular print such as an 8x10, as they are of interest to postcard collectors (crossover) and more specifically to baseball collectors. They see them as a type of baseball card which brings this into the stratosphere. Plus, type 1 baseball photos are one of the hottest things in the baseball collecting hobby today. [Type 1 is defined as a photo printed within two years of when it was taken and off the original negative]. And this is one of the best out there.