View Full Version : 1889 Print Help - "Opening Game of the Boston Base-ball Club"

10-01-2011, 12:37 AM
Hi All,
I recently picked up this very interesting print and received it in the mail today. It is titled "Opening Game of the Boston Base-ball Club" and is published by G. Waldon Smith. It measures 14" x 10" and has an interesting black and red border. I have done an extensive amount of data mining and have found very little information. Here are some key points:

1) It resembles this print (http://www.robertedwardauctions.com/auction/2006/973.html#photos) although there are some differences in size, design and obviously color.
2) I have not opened up the frame and don't want to yet but it may have a golf print titled "Sabbath Breakers" on the back side similar to this print (http://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/vintage-boston-baseball-club-season-133422264).
3) It looks exactly like this print (http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Baseball-New-York-at-Boston-1889-Posters_i5130671_.htm) but this one is authentic. I have yet to find the source of this particular color print.

I was 99% convinced that it was a reprint but after consulting with a few experts on this forum and seeing the characteristics under the microscope, it looks to be legitimate.

Does anyone know what this is or more importantly where it came from...newspaper, magazine publication, other?

UPDATE: I received the print a few weeks back and took it out of the frame. It is on very thin paper and has a golf theme on the other side. I think the clue to its origins lies in what is highlighted in very small print on the second photo but very hard for me to tell even in person. It says something like "____ Congress in the Year ____ by ____. ____ of the ____ of Congress at Washington." I've attempted to capture what it looks like under magnification. Will continue to try to see what I can uncover but if there are any good eyes here who can help me make out the inscription, let me know. Thanks! I can also send better images via email.

10-01-2011, 05:40 AM
This is a well known print, and quite desirable, but it was issued in black and white and in a much larger format. This one appears to be a reprint, although it could have been issued in a smaller size (I'm not sure about this, maybe someone else knows), and then subsequently hand colored. Not having it in hand to examine closely, my guess is it is a reprint.

10-01-2011, 05:52 AM
Thanks Barry. I too was convinced that it was a reprint until I saw it in person. It looks to be on older paper and under high magnification looks similar to the T206s with irregular sized dots and 0 evidence of multicolor dot pattern.

10-01-2011, 06:18 AM
It could be a hand colored original, but I can't tell from a scan.

10-01-2011, 07:07 AM
I have never seen an original color-version of this print. I agree with Barry. My guess is that it is an old reprint, probably made by photographing the original and then adding color. Given that an original dates to the late 1880's, a repro could have been done well over 100 years ago and therefore would look as old as an original.

My experience has been that in all instances versions of prints that vary in size from the known originals are always repros.

10-01-2011, 07:45 AM
Printing quality looks like a reprint from the scans posted, especially the close-up portraits pic.

10-01-2011, 09:44 AM
These color prints are definitely post-1900. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one but I do remember trying to figure out what this was decades ago. My recollection is that I found it was actually part of a calendar devoted to sport that was very well made, and included this illustration (which of course was created by using a black-and-white 1889 print as inspiration). I don’t remember the year, but I think it dates from the late 1920s. I remember the first time I saw this color baseball print (about 30 years ago), it was also framed, and when I opened the frame to check the back it had the golfing scene on the reverse.

10-01-2011, 10:13 AM
Rob- I believe I've also seen a calendar with the Currier & Ives baseball print. Does that ring a bell?

10-01-2011, 10:57 AM
Thanks Barry. I too was convinced that it was a reprint until I saw it in person. It looks to be on older paper and under high magnification looks similar to the T206s with irregular sized dots and 0 evidence of multicolor dot pattern.

Key is the fact that when magnified it looks like the same litho process used in T206's. As you've already guessed, if that's true, then it's not a photo of an original, and it's certainly not hand-colored.

10-01-2011, 12:37 PM
Hi Barry! I can’t recall if I’ve seen the Currier & Ives baseball print in a calendar but over the years I’ve seen many types of reproductions and some of them have a lot of age to them. The Currier print was issued in 1866 and it seems they’ve been producing reprints of various types ever since. I’m sure there’s a calendar among them somewhere! This 1866 CDV featuring the Currier & Ives print is the earliest use of the image, is a favorite of mine, and was an exciting item to document:


(Looking at the auction description, I am glad to see I did not forget to throw “the hat in the ring” for this CDV being the earliest baseball card known to exist. There’s a lot to this card!)


Rob L

10-01-2011, 01:20 PM
Hi Rob- I remember that CdV well, it was very unusual. It reminds me a little of daguerreotypes of old paintings- really an image of another image.

10-01-2011, 04:36 PM
Thank you everyone for the excellent insight! I learn a new thing everyday on net54. I guess I'm still relieved that it's not a modern day reprint. I clearly have a lot to learn and maybe I should stick to the Harper's and Lelie's woodcut which I'm much more familiar with : ) Rob, your observation about this coming from a calendar is very interesting and I'm going to see if I can do a little more research and find the actual calendar mfr. If anyone has an idea of the value of this 'print' please let me know. Thanks!

10-10-2011, 07:53 PM
Hi, I've added new pictures to my initial post. Any additional help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.