Summer Premier Auction 2019

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There is no greater photographic image that depicts what Jackie Robinson was about to accomplish in April 1947 than this historic photograph. The story behind this famous shot begins during the April 10, 1947 Montreal Royals – Brooklyn Dodgers exhibition game at Ebbets Field. During the fifth inning a press release was handed out to the sportswriters in the press booth announcing that “The Brooklyn Dodgers today purchased the contract of Jackie Roosevelt Robinson from the Montreal Royals.” With this earth-shattering sentence Branch Rickey opened the door for African-Americans to play in the Major Leagues.

The next afternoon the Dodgers were slated to play another exhibition game, this time against the Yankees. Reporters and photographers flooded the area outside the Dodgers locker room, all vying to get the first glimpse of the man who was about to finally break the color barrier in our National Pastime. And Jackie did not disappoint. Shortly before game-time he appeared in his Montreal Royals uniform, waved to reporters and disappeared behind the hallowed door which read, “DODGERS CLUB HOUSE KEEP OUT.” A short time later Robinson re-emerged, this time clad in the home white flannels of the Major League Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie would go on to play first base in the game and knock in three of the Dodgers 14 runs in a win over the Yankees. That afternoon hundreds of newspapers across the nation carried this now iconic shot of Jackie visually crossing the color line.

The original Type I photograph is from Acme Newspictures and measures 7” by 9.” The back has several stampings, a Culver Pictures sticker and a clipping of the caption from when the photo was originally published on April 11, 1947 (one day after it was taken). Lastly, an unknown hand has written “JACKIE ROBINSON” in pencil across the back. The Type I photo has aged well with some slight overall toning and edge wear. There are some creases, most notably on the top right corner, as well as a nick in the corner of the bottom right. There is some glue residue on the bottom center of the photo, but this does not distract whatsoever from the lovely sepia-toned aesthetics of its powerful, symbolic message. We love the image so much, in fact, that we put it on the cover of our auction catalog!

The photo has been encapsulated by PSA/DNA as Type I Authentic. Also includes is a full LOA from PSA/DNA by renowned photo expert Henry Yee stating that this original photo was indeed snapped the same day (perhaps just minutes after) the Dodgers officially called up Robinson to the big leagues.

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