Used Car Salesman
For those of you that either collect the various versions of Charles Conlon's baseball photography - usually through baseball cards published by the Sporting News, Marketcom, World Wide Sports, or Megacards - you are well aware that in 2010, John Roger's purchased 8,354 original glass negatives of Conlon's work from 1904
Much was hoped when this happened, including the possibility that Rogers might continue the baseball card collection that was stopped abruptly in 1994 during the baseball strike. Rogers even claimed, in 2012, that he was considering restarting the collection.
Instead, Rogers company produced high priced "Museum Quality" prints from the Conlon negatives to an audience willing to pay the exorbitant prices.
In the meantime, Rogers began buying up newspaper photo collections for huge sums of money, under the promise to organize and digitize these collections for easy access. It is estimated he purchased up to 200 million historical newspaper photos.
Well, long story short, Mr. Rogers' actual intentions seemed to be what in the reality business we call "flipping". Many of the collections, and/or parts of the collections, were resold to other buyers for profit. It didn't take long before questions rose as to what was being purchased; originals, rights, or fakes.
In a very short time, many lawsuits were brought against Rogers, and the FBI ultimately took control of most of his photo collections.
Getting back to the portion of the story I'm interested in, that means the Conlon collection (or whatever part Rogers actually owns at this point if any) is no longer in possession of a single owner that could, at some point, do something productive with these photos.
It is likely these photos will remain under FBI control for years - if not decades - before anyone will have the chance to consider doing anything with them.
It's tempting, and too easy, to blame the Sporting News for selling such an important collection to Rogers in the first place - but the Sporting News is not the criminal here - John Rogers is - and because of his greed, our generation will likely not see the vast majority of Conlon's work made into the baseball cards we've loved to collect.
- * 1981 Sporting News Conlon Set (100 cards)
- * 1983 Marketcom Conlon Set Prototypes (5 cards)
- * 1983 TSN 50th Anniv. 1933 All Star Game (60 cards)
- * 1984 Marketcom "Baseball Immortals" Set (60 cards)
- * 1984 Marketcom Postcards (2 sets x 32 cards)
- * 1986-88 World Wide Sports Sets 1-5 (213 cards)
- * 1988 World Wide Sports 1933 All-Stars (60 cards)
- * 1988 Hardees / Coca Cola (6 cards)
- * 1991 Megacards Prototypes (4 cards) VERY RARE
- * 1991 Megacards Set (3 Sets, 727 cards)
- * 1992 Megacards Set (330 cards)
- * 1993 Megacards Set (330 cards)
- * 1994 Megacards Set (2 printings, 2x330 cards)
- * 1995 Megacards Set (110 cards)
- * 1993 10x8 Master Series (9 B&W and 9 Color cards)
- * 1992-95 Color Cards (48 cards)
- * 1992-94 Gold Inserts Cards (12 cards)
- * 1991-95 Prototype / Promotional Cards (48 cards)
- * Card Errors, Autographed Cards and Related Items
- * Collection Value