In 2014, a Jacobellis contact proof used for Roberts' 1956 Topps card sold at auction for nearly $2,000. This more affordable alternative likewise captures the Phillies legend in his prime. On the reverse, in addition to the Jacobellis stamp, there is a label for fellow photographer Phil Burchman—a colleague who helped connect Jacobellis with Sports Illustrated and who is best remembered himself for photos of Marilyn Monroe.
THE "GOLDEN AGE OF BASEBALL CARDS" PHOTO ARCHIVE: Featuring the Master Photography Collections of Jacobellis, Olen, Barr, Greene and More
Recent meteoric growth in our hobby's "card-used photo" sector can largely be traced to this very archive. When the Type I original photos of Topps/Bowman photographers Bill Jacobellis and Bob Olen first surfaced at auction in 2014, the terminology of "contact proof" was still relatively unknown. Now, any advanced photo collector immediately recognizes the extraordinary quality and value of Jacobellis contact proofs, as evidenced by the $21,500 paid for a 1951 Mickey Mantle rookie photo in our May 2018 auction. Meanwhile, in an earlier sale, Olen's 1965 Topps rookie photo of Joe Namath—described at that time by expert Henry Yee as "the single most important football photograph ever offered"—hit the whopping record total of $66,000. And that marks the fourth time in the past 5 years that a card-used photo has reached such an echelon, with Mantle's 1951 Bowman and 1952 Topps photos selling for $72,000 and $60,000, while a 1933 Goudey Gehrig photo by Charles Conlon likewise garnered $60,000.
Thus, it's with great excitement that we present another selection of offerings from the "Golden Age" archive. Each unique piece in the Bill Jacobellis Collection carries the Jacobellis copyright stamp and has received a Full LOA from PSA/DNA. These 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. Dimensions are 4x5 and condition averages EX-MT.