The William Jacobellis Photo Collection burst on the hobby scene back in 2014, when the esteemed photographer's contact-proof original photos made a big splash at auction—most notably those of his images used for iconic 1950s Topps and Bowman baseball cards. Examples included '54 Bowman Mays ($5,000), '54 Bowman Mantle ($4,500), '55/'56 Topps Banks ($4,500) and 1952 Bowman Musial ($4,000). The upward trajectory followed a recent trend for ALL Type I original photos used in card production, epitomized by the $72,000 paid in 2015 for Mantle's 1951 Bowman photo.
Now we're pleased to offer a nice selection from the Jacobellis Collection, with each well-preserved piece featuring the Jacobellis copyright stamp and many having been encapsulated as "Authentic" by Beckett Grading Services. It is important to note as well that Type I "contact proofs" represent the ultimate in crystal-clear image quality and are essentially the closest thing to the negative itself. Simply put, the contact-proof development process was not employed for everyday news-service photos printed on a tight publication deadline, but rather was reserved for specialized, studio-caliber purposes such as card production by Topps, Bowman and other leading companies. It has been said that many of the Jacobellis Collection photos are unique, one-of-a-kind survivors. They measure 4x5 (with a distinctive black border) and average EX-MT condition.
This rookie-era shot of Mr. Tiger gives a behind-the-scenes look at card production, with crop marks on front and an abridged signature of "Ben Sol" on reverse—penned by long-time Topps art director Ben Solomon.