The Charles M. Conlon Photographic Archive sells for $1.7 million

conlon cobb slide
Legendary baseball photographer Charles M Conlon’s photographic archive of over 7,000 images has sold for $1.7m at Heritage Auctions Sports Collectibles Platinum Auction on August 27th and 28th. Between 1904 and 1942, there was no more skilled or dedicated biographer of the United States national pastime than Conlon, whose work serves as the primary visual record of Major League Baseball in the early half of the twentieth century. From imagery populating early Reach and Spalding guides to syndicated newspaper photography to iconic trading cards spanning the days of tobacco to bubble gum, the work of Conlon permeates the historical paper trail of the most glorious decades of baseball, almost always uncredited, the life’s work of a man both anonymous and intimately familiar.

“The game which seems to breathe the restless spirit of American life, that calls for quick action and quicker thinking, that seems characteristic of a great nation itself, is baseball.” 
–Charles M. Conlon, 1913

Most of Conlon’s most iconic images date to the glass plate era, and include tthe Cobb slide, the ultra-close-up facial portrait of Babe Ruth in 1927, the images used for the Ruth and Gehrig entries in the 1933 Goudey set, and several images of the soon-to-be-banished legend “Shoeless Joe” Jackson.

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