Significant studio cabinet photo from a rare issue, produced by the prominent Conly Photographic Studios of Boston. Each of the photos in the set depicts a member of the 1891 Boston Red Stockings, who won the championship of the American Association in the league's final season. There are less than a dozen known subjects from the issue (eight of them are included in this auction), though it is likely that additional players were originally included). The cabinets each feature a sepia-tone photo of the player in street clothes, the photographer's name and city printed at the bottom of the mount with the player's name neatly written in fountain pen in-between. The reverse features an ornate and elaborate advertisement for the studio on the reverse.
The reverse of each card in the collection we are offering has, with exceptions noted in the individual descriptions, glue staining around the perimeter of the mount, with a number written on the reverse of each card (a different number on each). It has been theorized that the photos were once mounted to a larger display, perhaps designed to create a larger photo composite or other display. The numbers serve as an indication that additional subjects were initially included (the highest number included in the group is 12).
Exceptional card of manager Arthur Irwin, also a backup shortstop with the club. Aside from one at bat with the 1894 Philadelphia Phillies, the 1891 season was Irwin's last as a 13-year career as a player. He would manage the 1892 Washington Senators, 1894-95 Phillies, 1896 New York Giants, and 1898-99 Senators as well, compiling a lifetime managerial record of 416-427 - his 1891 Red Stockings season was, by far, his finest. The cabinet is in exceptional condition, a truly exceptional piece.