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1860s Baseball Letters and Documents Collection (7)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $812.00
This collection of unique historical baseball documents dates to the earliest days of our National Pastime and includes challenge letters, a handwritten copy of a baseball club's constitution and bylaws, a banquet invitation, and an amazing letter regarding the dispute between two rival clubs over the rightful ownership of a trophy bat and ball. We will begin with the dispute letter, for it not only documents the passion and fervor involved in early match play, but also offers insight into the nature of how games were scheduled in the 1860s. The two-page handwritten letter, dated Springfield, Ohio, July 19, 1867, is written by J. Warren Keifer, President of the Republic B.B.C., to Mayor J.J. Snyder, President of the Lone Star B.B.C. He writes in full: Dear Sir, I have the honor to acknowledge the acceptance of your communication of this date in which you make a formal demand for the possession of the 7th Dist. Champions prize Bat & Ball; now in the possession of the Republic Base Ball Club of Springfield. The Republic Base Ball Club most respectfully declines to comply with your formal demand for the delivery of the B. & B. in question, until the termination of the match game, between the two clubs; at which time, if the "Lone Stars'"are victorious, under the rules for a 'match game' as set forth in Sec. 43 of "Haney's Base Ball Book" and also under the further rules for "Champion Games," as set forth in the same work, the "Republics" will take great pleasure in voluntarily delivering the possession of the Bat & Ball referred to in your communication, to their Esteemed Brothers of the "Lone Stars." The '"republics" sincerely regret that there should now be any misunderstanding about the possession of the prize B. & B.; as it is confidently claimed that it was fully understood at the beginning of the play, on the 18th inst., that the match was to be decided under the rules - "best two out of three." The "Republics" hold themselves in readiness to play the match to a final termination, at such time or times as may be agreed upon. I remain Very Resp. Your Most Obt. + Humble servant - J. Warren Keifer - Prest. of the Rep. B.B. Club. The letter (7.75 x 9.75 inches) is written on two sides of a fold-over sheet and displays normal mailing folds. Excellent condition overall. The formalities of the time are also wonderfully expressed in another letter from the era, this one a reply to a challenge letter. What makes this letter particularly interesting is the last sentence. The one-page letter, dated August 14, 1866, is written by Thomas Metzger, secretary of the Pioneer B.B.C., to the Captain of the First Nine of the Star Base Ball Club. He writes in full: Sir: I am instructed by the Pioneer Base Ball Club to reply to your challenge of the 13th in the following manner. "We cannot accept the challenge of your time for the present, having accepted two challenges which we have accepted and will play within the next fortnight and further that we will not accept, until the First Nine of the Star Base Ball Club has apologized to the umpire of the first match game. - By order of the Club." The letter (7.75 x 9.75) is in Fair condition overall with a number of border tears (paper loss), tears along the mailing folds and light staining. Despite the condition flaws, the text is intact and perfectly legible. These are the remaining items in the collection: 1) A three-page handwritten challenge letter, dated August 5, 1867, addressed to the "Secty- Litchfield B.B.C." from "S. W. Slaughter, Secty. Cayala B.B.C." The letter (5 x 8 inches), written on three sides of a fold-over sheet, displays normal mailing folds and a few light areas of discoloration. Vg. 2) A one-page handwritten letter (dated Litchfield, August 7, 1867) addressed in general to the "Members of South Hill B.B. Club." The document provides information with regard to a baseball meeting on Saturday night. The letter (5 x 8 inches), written on one side of a fold-over sheet, displays normal mailing folds, tiny tears along the intersection of the fold lines and mild staining. Gd-Vg. 3) "Constitution and By-Laws of the Star Base Ball Club of Chester." The eight-page handwritten document details membership requirements and rules of the club. Undated, circa late 1860s. The constitution (8 X 12.5), written on each side of four separate sheets, displays three horizontal folds and is in Excellent condition. 4) A one-page document (8 x 12 inches), dated August 22nd, 1868, in which the Star Base Ball Club has agreed to officially forego changing its name to the Expert Base Ball Club. Three horizontal fold lines. Ex. 5) 1869 fold-over invitation (5 x 6 inches) to the First Annual Ball of the Lone Star Base Ball Club. Among the members of the honorary committee listed along the interior is John Wildey, a well-known member of the Mutual B.B.C. of New York. Two horizontal fold lines. Ex. Total: 7 items. Reserve $500. Estimate $1000/$1,500.
Additional images are available at http://photos.yahoo.com/reaphotos. SOLD FOR $812.00
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