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1835 First Edition of The Boy's Book of Sports
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $3,818.75
Extremely rare 1835 first edition of The Boy's Book of Sports or Exercises And Pastimes of Youth , published by S. Babcock, New Haven. 24 pages. This small (3.5 x 5.5 inches) soft-cover book is considered by many historians to be one of the two most historically significant baseball books published during the first half of the nineteenth century. Its importance is predicated upon the fact that it refers to the game of "Base ball" by name and also features variations in both the game's description and terminology, as well as featuring the famous early woodcut of the game of baseball being played on the Boston Common entitled A Game of Base Ball ( the woodcut first appeared in print one year earlier in The Book of Sports by Robin Carver) . The game is listed first under the section titled "Games at Ball," and, as historian David Block notes in his scholarly reference work Baseball Before We Knew It , "That the first game he [the editor] lists is 'base ball' confirms that the pastime was already quite popular by 1835." While the rules for "base ball" as printed in the Babcock book are similar to those appearing a year earlier in the Carver book, there are a number of extremely historically important revisions: First is the fact that Babcock changes the direction in which the "striker" runs when hitting the ball from clockwise to counterclockwise. Babcock also introduces, for the first time in print, the specialized terms "innings" and "diamond" ("Four stones for goals...so as to form the four points of a diamond") in reference to the game of baseball. This book is extremely rare and literally only a few copies are known to exist. Later printings are known and while these later editions are rare, they are far more common than the almost-never-seen 1835 first edition. Considering its extremely fragile nature, the offered copy remains in an extraordinary state of preservation. Both of the green paper covers remain fully intact, displaying only a few minor creases and border tears. The interior pages exhibit light foxing throughout and are otherwise free of any major defects. Very Good condition overall. This is a seldom seen, museum-quality relic worthy of the most advanced nineteenth-century or general collection. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $3,818.75
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