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‘Extremely rare’ team photo of 1903 Cubs is up for auction

Courtesy of Robert Edward Auctions

An “extremely rare” piece of Cubs history hit an online auction block earlier this month.

One of the only three known original team photos of the 1903 Cubs was made available on Robert Edward Auctions’ website on Oct. 5 with a starting bid of $1,000.

In nearly two weeks of betting, the current highest bidder as of Tuesday afternoon has offered $1,700 for the team composite which features 19 Cubs players, including Frank Chance, Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker.

The ball club — now known as the Cubs — was called the White Stockings when it was founded in 1876. After being known as that for more than a decade, the organization changed its name to the Colts in 1890. Then, the club was known as the Chicago Orphans when legendary manager Cap Anson retired in 19897.

With Anson gone, the team struggled in the early 1900s. After finishing with a 58-81 record in 1901, the Chicago Orphans began rebuilding the team around young players like Tinker and Evers. Due to manager Frank Selee’s youthful roster, many reporters began to refer to the team as Selee’s “Cubs” starting in 1902.

It wasn’t until the following season in 1903 when the “Cubs” nickname stuck with the club.

Besides the rare team photo, several antique World Series programs are also up for auction, including an uncommon program for the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox. According to Robert Edward Auctions’ website, the 1918 program is only the fourth example of the Chicago program in existence.

Courtesy of Robert Edward Auctions

The auction will close on Oct. 28.