Conlon Collection Fetches $1.8M at Auction; Proceeds to Pay John Rogers Debt

Conlon Collection Fetches $1.8M at Auction; Proceeds to Pay John Rogers Debt
A photograph of Detroit Tigers outfielder and future Hall of Famer Ty Cobb stealing third with a hard slide past the New York Highlanders’ Jimmy Austin, an iconic asset from the Charles Conlon Collection. (Charles Conlon Collection)

The famed Conlon Collection of early major league baseball images sold for nearly $1.8 million at auction on Saturday.

The single sale of 7,462 glass-plate negatives produced by photographer Charles Conlon (1868-1945) was handled by Heritage Auctions in Dallas.

About $1.5 million of the auction proceeds will be deposited in the court registry until a hearing before Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza can sort out the competing claims by creditors.

A hearing date is hoped for by year's end. 

"Lots of people, lots of conflicting claims," said Michael McAfee, court-appointed receiver for the former business assets of John Rogers.

The identity of the Aug. 26 buyer is shrouded for now, but sources indicate that two of the three leading bidders intended to send the collection to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

"There's a very high probability that it's heading to Cooperstown, which is where it should be," McAfee said.

The Conlon Collection that Rogers acquired in June 2010 numbered about 8,300 pieces. In a past interview, McAfee said he wasn't sure what happened to reduce the count to about 7,500 before he came aboard and inventoried assets.

"Some of the Conlon plates seem to have evaporated," McAfee testified at a Jan. 20 court hearing.

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