California Baseball Cabinet Photographs, ca. 1885

Value (2009) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction

They were my great-great-grandfather's cards. And he's right down here. He played on the Haverly's team. And that happens to be the one card I don't got.

Ugh. (chuckling) Well, these are images from early California baseball. These cards are from 1883 to 1887, prior to the Pacific Coast League forming in 1903.


You have cabinet photos from the Atlas baseball team, the Haverly team and then down here from the Pioneer team. Interesting thing here is that you've got all these cards, but you're lacking the one Pratt card, which is your great-great-grandfather. How would you like to find that card?

I'd find one of his girlfriends that he had, maybe, back in that time and ask if anybody has the card.

Now, you also brought this book, Always on Sunday. And we've taken a couple pages from the book to show that we've got some of these exact photos. It's most noticeable by these particular creases in these particular photos-- other imperfections and scrapes and so forth. These are the exact same photos. So, how do you explain... how did this happen?

I was told that these photos were in a San Francisco museum and at some point-- I'm not sure how-- this gentleman, John Spaulding, got a hold of them and was able to put them in the book.

How did they get from this museum into your collection?

I have no idea.

No idea?

No clue.

But they were brought down to you from your grandfather though, right?

Yeah, yeah.

None of these players played in major league baseball. So they're essentially common, everyday players. Journeymen, if you will. So, there's not going to be one particular card out of this that's going to have any more value than any of the others.

All right.

I can't get comparables on many of these images that are here. Meaning that these may be the only images that are known. So there's a real rarity here. I think that, at auction, this collection would bring somewhere in the area of $10,000 to $15,000.

Cool. That's-that's pretty neat.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Dallas, TX
Appraised value (2009)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
San Jose, CA (August 15, 2009)
19th Century

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