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Lot # 665 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Trio of Nineteenth-Century Baseballs

Starting Bid - $400.00, Sold For - $1,740.00

The evolution of our national pastime is represented by these three early baseballs. While the exact date of origin of two balls remains unknown (the third almost certainly dates from circa 1859), the various sizes represented here clearly indicate a transitional period in the sport. Two of the balls have a lemon-peel design, while the third features a "figure eight" stitch pattern. None of the balls, however, is exactly equal in size to that of a modern ball (between 9 and 9.25 inches in circumference). The largest, a lemon-peel ball featuring a dark brown leather cover, measures ten inches in circumference and weighs 5.25 ounces. This is a particularly high quality circa 1859 baseball of professional manufacture. In 1859 the rules stated that a ball must weigh 5.75 to 6 ounces and measure 9.75 to 10 inches in circumference. Two years later, the ball specifications were changed to 5.5 to 5.75 ounces and 9.5 to 9.75 inches in circumference. The remaining two balls are both significantly smaller in size and were most likely used in "Town Ball" or similar ball-and-stick games that preceded the advent of modern baseball. The first, a "figure-eight" style ball with leather cover and "crossed-rope style" stitching, measures 7.5 inches in circumference and weighs 2.4 ounces, while the second, a tightly wound lemon-peel ball with soft leather cover, measures 5.75 inches and weighs 1 ounce. All of the balls display wear commensurate with their age and former use; however, all are complete, displaying no tears to either the leather covers or stitching. Very Good condition overall. Total: 3 balls. Reserve $400. Estimate $800/$1,200. SOLD FOR $1,740.00


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