The Detroit Wolverines were a National League Baseball Team which existed from 1881-1888. They enjoyed their finest year in 1887 when they won the 19th Century version of the World Series by defeating the St. Louis Browns of the American Association ten games to five in a fifteen game series. Presented is an extremely rare large format 16x20 imperial cabinet photo of the 1887 Detroit Wolverines team entitled “Champions of the League”. Albumen finish cabinet photos were the dominant form of photography prints in the 1880s and were produced through a complicated process resulting in a thin layer paper image mounted to a heavy cardboard stock backer with a typical size of 4x6. While there are examples offered with image sizes ranging from 4x6 up to 13x16, the photo image in this offering has staggering dimensions of 18-3/4 x 13-1/4” mounted to a 16x20 backer making this a truly unusual and significant piece. Large format photos of this nature were proportionally expensive and were typically produced in limited numbers for team members and officials. This "new to the hobby" heirloom was given to a member of the consigning family by an unknown team member a century ago. When offered, significant large size cabinet sports photos have often realized prices in the mid five figure range.
This handsome sepia-toned cabinet card displays clear subject images with excellent gloss and a fine overall original quality minimally affected by several very small scattered surface imperfections which do not detract from the museum worthy appearance. The heavy stock cardboard backer extends 1/2” past the photo image on the left and right margins and 3/4” at the top. The bottom margin is 1-3/4” tall and features the printed names & positions of the (16) depicted players and manager along with the name of the Detroit studio (Tomlinson) that produced this compelling memento. The center portion of the printed area displays the titles “Detroit Base Ball Club-Season 1887” and “Champions of the League”. The margins of the cardboard mounting show moderate wear including overall aged appearance. Several insignificant chips/cracks and a 9 x 1-1/2” water stain do not impact the condition of the photo itself. The photographic image is an artful composition showing the austere team members elegantly framed by the studio setting’s drapery and patterned rug. Players pictured are Back Row: Bennett, Brouthers, Thompson, Ganzell, Twitchell, Baldwin; Center Row: White; Front Row: Briody, Dunlap, Watkins (Manager), Hanlon, Shindle, Getzien; Seated on Floor: Rowe, Weidman and Richardson. More on our website.
The reverse side of the cardboard mounting shows the following pencils marks: 16/20, gloss and 551. Also included is a second separate cardboard support backer that is somewhat thicker and heavier that the photo mounting stock.