PLAINWELL, Mich. (AP) A 100-year-old baseball painting by Plainwell native commercial artist Fletcher Ransom recently sold for $48,000 at an auction.
Last weekend, an anonymous bidder purchased the painting, titled “Yer Out,” for $40,000 plus $8,000 in fees at an online auction, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
New Jersey-based auction house Robert Edward Auctions, which sold the painting on behalf of the Elks Lodge in Joliet, Illinois, specializes in all areas of baseball collectives, including memorabilia and cards. The auction made nearly $8 million on the sale of 136 baseball-themed items, including an extremely rare cabinet card picturing the 1887 Detroit baseball team from the Kalamazoo Bats series, which sold for $30,000.
“Yer Out,” painted in 1915, depicts a game-action scene featuring Baseball Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner.
The painting was one of five commissioned by the Gerlach-Barklow Company, a leading producer of art and advertising calendars in the U.S. from 1907 to 1971, for use on an “Indoor Bill-Board” calendar in 1915, according to the auction house’s website. Gerlach-Barklow Company describes the piece as the “greatest baseball picture ever painted” in a company brochure from the same year in which the artwork was featured.
“This great picture will receive a warm welcome in every city, town, and hamlet in the United States and Canada,” the brochure said.
In 1915, the original oil painting was valued at $5,000, which would translate to $117,000 in today’s economy.
Ransom gave the painting to one of the owners of the Gerlach-Barklow Company, a member of the Elks Lodge, who displayed it in his office for decades. The man eventually gave the painting to the Lodge, where it remained on prominent display until the Lodge was forced to sell it for capital improvements, according to The (Joliet) Herald-News
Ransom was born in Alamo Township in 1870 and lived in a house along M-89 in Plainwell with his sister during the last seven or eight years of his life. He died in 1943.
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