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Lot # 16 (of 1525)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1877 Desk Set Presented to Morgan Bulkeley from William Hulbert

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $5,220.00

This unique custom-made presentation desk set was given as a gift to first National League president, Morgan Bulkeley, from the National League's second president, William Hulbert. In 1876, when the National League was formed, Bulkeley was elected unanimously as its first president. Bulkeley was previously the president of the Hartford Dark Blues of the National Association. In the league's inaugural season, Bulkeley greatly enhanced the game's image by reducing gambling and drinking, but after one season he left baseball to pursue his interest in politics, eventually serving two terms as Mayor of Hartford, four years as Governor of Connecticut, and six years as Senator. William Hulbert, one of the primary architects of the National League, took over as National League president in 1877, and served until his passing in 1884. Together these pioneers saw the National League through its earliest formative years, establishing a relentless opposition to betting, rowdiness and other prevalent abuses that threatened the sport, and setting the stage for the next century of success, both for the game of baseball and the National League. This desk set was a special gift from William Hulbert to Morgan Bulkeley, given in appreciation of Bulkeley's great contributions to the newly formed National League. This is an extraordinary keepsake and tribute given from the second National League president to the first National League president, both essential founders of the league, presented at the time of transition of the power of office. Morgan Bulkeley was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1937. William Hulbert was elected in 1995. This keepsake was saved by Bulkeley his entire life. It originates directly from the Bulkeley family, and was the highlight of the Morgan Bulkeley items sold directly by the Bulkeley family many years ago. The wood base of the desk set measures 10.5 x 8 x 3 inches, and is designed with a drawer storage compartment. On top is a beautiful convex silver medallion which is very elaborately engraved "Presented To The Hon. Morgan G. Bulkeley, President of The Nat'l Baseball League, Many Thanks For A Great Year, From William A. Hulbert, 2nd Feb. 1877." The medallion, which is marked "sterling" is affixed to the top of the desk set, as is a cylindrical inkwell. The white foundation of the composition inkwell is surrounded by a silver trim along its base with a repeating crossed bats and ball pattern, and topped by a silver lid with baseball design, including ball stitching, which is engraved "Natl 1877." The extremely heavy inkwell lid was originally attached to the base by a small hinge which swivels, but has separated. Two silver bats, each 5.25 inches in length and designed with a ball attached, stand at a forty-five degree angle on either side of the medallion. We believe that a quill pen originally accompanied the set, and the balls on the bats are designed to provide a place for the pen to rest. One of the two small drawer rings, which allow the storage drawer to be pulled open, is lost. Very few items survive relating to William Hulbert's or Morgan Bulkeley's tenures as National League president. This extraordinary presentation desk set is almost certainly the only item of significance in existence relating to both. It is also one of the most important items in existence relating to the highest office of the National League during its earliest years. As is often the case with unique items, it is very difficult to assign an estimated value for this piece. This is the first time this item has ever been offered since originally sold by the Bulkeley family. Overall in Excellent condition. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000/$7,500. SOLD FOR $5,220.00


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