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1860 Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion
Starting Bid - $2,500, Sold For - $9,400
1860 Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion, third revised edition, published by Mayhew & Baker, Boston, 34 pages. This is one of the most important baseball books we have ever had the privilege of offering. Many historians consider The Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion to be the single most important of all early baseball book and it has long been revered by collectors both for its great rarity and significance. The offered volume includes rules, regulations, and field diagrams for both the "Massachusetts" and "New York" rules of the game. This book was published at a time when the controversy over which rules would gain acceptance was at its peak. The newer "New York" rules, which placed the batter at home plate and replaced posts with bases, were growing in popularity in the late 1850s. It was not until 1858 that the first game between prominent teams using the New York rules was played. Three editions of this book are known: the 1859 edition (of which there are fewer than ten known examples), this 1860 edition (of which this is the first example we have ever seen), and the 1861 edition (of which there is only one example known). This edition, like the 1859 edition, has soft leather gold-stamped covers (the 1861 edition has the cover design printed in gold on striking blue paper wraps). The gold type and woodcut cover design (of a ballplayer in the act of catching a ball) displayed on this book is the same for all three editions. There is a wealth of important historical information relating to the development of baseball in this volume. This book presents in detail the early rules of the game as decided by the National Association of Base Ball Players, baseball's first organized association, and includes information relating to the NABBP as well. This volume literally documents the work-in-progress nature of the game at that time, detailing the most significant changes to the rules which largely define the game of baseball as we know it today. The monumental significance and dramatic presentation of its contents makes it very easy to appreciate why the Base Ball Player's Pocket Companion is universally regarded as the most significant of all early books which are exclusively devoted to baseball and which were available to the general public. The book displays light wear to both covers. There are two small, very unobtrusive circular proprietary ink stamps of a former owner ("J. A. Fenton") displayed on the interior front cover, and six more on the facing page. The same stamp appears three times on the rear interior cover, two more times on the facing page, and ten more times throughout the book on various pages. A vintage, black fountain pen inscription, bearing the name of a former owner ("Willard Babblitt, South Dedham, Mass.") and the date ("1891") appears on the front flyleaf. Twelve of the interior pages are technically detached from the spine, but all of the pages are present and the book is complete as published. Because this is a revised edition, an affixed slip of paper has been attached to page 13 in amendment of a previous publishing error. In Very Good condition overall. This is a museum-caliber piece that would be a highlight in even the world's most advanced library or nineteenth-century baseball collection. The book is housed in a beautifully designed custom-made folding solander case. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $9,400
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