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1874 Henry Chadwick Single-Signed Ball
Starting Bid - $7,500.00, Sold For - $63,250.00
Extraordinary Trophy Baseball has been signed "Umpire - Henry Chadwick - New York Clipper" ("6") in white ink on side panel. The ball is actually a game-used Trophy Baseball which was used in an exhibition game between teams comprised of Knickerbocker Old Timers, held on April 14, 1874 at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey (the site of the first organized baseball game in 1845) in honor of the 30th anniversary of the formation of the Knickerbockers. The legendary Henry Chadwick, long recognized as "The Father of Baseball," served as the umpire for this contest, and Chadwick personally decorated the ball in the tradition of Trophy Baseballs of the era, with the details of the game written in his hand directly onto the ball. The ball was first coated with a dark shellac or paint to allow for ideal contrast with the white ink Chadwick then used. In addition to the signature panel which identifies Chadwick as the umpire of the game and writer for the New York Clipper, two other sides of the ball are elaborately decorated as follows: "30 year Anniversary Knick BBC" / "Decoration Day Knickerbockers/Elysian Fields/April 14th, 1874/Davis - 14/Kissam - 7." Davis refers to James Whyte Davis, one of the oldest and most devoted early Knickerbockers (he was actually buried in the Knickerbocker's team flag), and Samuel E. Kissam was another extremely prominent Knickerbocker from the early days of the club. Davis and Kissam served as captains of their respective teams of Knickerbocker Old Timers for the game. A black decorative ribbon with gold colored metallic fob attachment is connected to the ball by the looped end of a metal screw, which is affixed to the ball by design. Also attached to the small metal loop is a string, which connects to a Henry Chadwick business card. On the reverse of the card Chadwick has glued a few selected portions of newspaper clippings related to the Knickerbockers, and added handwritten notes in pencil which read "Davis' side vs. Kissam's side, April 14, 1874 At Hoboken." There is only one other single-signed Chadwick baseball which has ever been sold at auction. Robert Edward Auctions oversaw the sale of that example, which realized a sum in excess of $60,000. This is the finer of the two examples, both in terms of condition, and the fact that this example has a strong and significant connection to the Knickerbockers. This ball is a prize on many levels. With only three examples known, Henry Chadwick may be the most elusive of all single signed Hall of Famer baseballs. Chadwick is also universally regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of the game. By any measure, this unique signed Trophy Ball is one of the most important and significant single-signed baseballs in the collecting world. All notations are clear and legible, grading overall a "6" on a scale of "1 to 10." The ball is in Excellent condition. The ribbon is in Excellent condition. The business card has all four corners neatly clipped (appears to be intentional and very likely by Chadwick himself) and is otherwise in Excellent condition. LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $7,500. Estimate $20,000/$40,000. SOLD FOR $63,250.00
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