Exceptional 19th century cabinet photo of Hall of Fame pitcher "Smiling" Mickey Welch. The studio photograph captures Welch in a bust-length image posing in formal attire. Although this particular cabinet was issued by the Kensington Art Studio of Brooklyn, New York, we know from having seen another example of this photo (which pictured Welch almost down to his waist), that it was taken by famed Brooklyn baseball photographer Joseph Hall in 1891. (Hall moved his studio from Brooklyn to Manhattan in 1893; it was probably at that time that Kensington acquired the rights to sell Joseph Hall cabinet photos under his own studio name.) Welch, who was a member of the New York Giants from 1883 through 1892, was born and raised in Brooklyn, so both he and Hall, whose studio was located in Brooklyn from 1865 to 1893, were obviously well acquainted over the years. Welch started and won the Giant's inaugural game in the National League in 1883, and over the course of the next ten years he established himself as one of the game's top pitchers. In 1885 he won a franchise-record 44 games and was one of the first pitchers to win 300 games. The photo (4 x 6 inches), which offers exceptional clarity and contrast, displays only light surface wear and is Excellent to Mint in its overall appearance. The scalloped mount (4.5 x 6.5 inches) displays light wrinkling on the reverse. This is only the second example of this particular Welch cabinet we have ever seen, making it both a rare and highly desirable 19th century Hall of Famer photograph.
Reserve $500. Estimate (open).