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Circa Early 1900s Baseball Bat Collection Including Extremely Early Corked Bat! (5)
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,938
This diverse collection of scarce style bats from the early 1900s, which includes an incredible early corked example, features those made by J. F. Hillerich & Son, D&M, Wright & Ditson, and Reach. Each of these bats was obtained in the New England area by a very discriminating collector over the course of many years. Although all of the bats show heavy use, the condition of each is much better than is normally found for bats of this vintage and they display exceptionally well. 1) J. F. Hillerich & Son "Ball-Balanced" Corked Bat. The center brand features the "J. F. Hillerich & Son" stamp used by the company between the years 1897 and 1911 and the barrel is stamped "Ball Balanced - Trade Mark." The bat features a ball-shaped bulbous knob, hence its name. What is most interesting about this bat is the fact that it is corked. A portion of the top end of the barrel has worn away, revealing a plug of cork measuring one-inch in diameter. Corking is an illegal practice that is designed to make a bat lighter without sacrificing length or barrel circumference. Normally, a hole approximately six-inches deep is drilled into the end of the barrel, with the removed wood core replaced by cork or some other lightweight substance. The bat is then patched up with glue and sawdust to hide the cork. Today, it's hard to determine how prevalent the practice of corking is, since only a few Major League players have ever been caught using a corked bat. One thing we now do know, however, based upon the evidence offered here, is that it appears that the practice is nearly as old as the game itself. This is not only the first actual corked bat we have ever seen, let alone offered, but it must certainly be one of the earliest known examples as well. The bat displays heavy use, including grain separation (a small sliver of wood is missing from the back of the barrel) and a small chip in the "Ball Balanced" stamp. All of the manufacturer's stampings are light, but legible. In Good to Very Good condition. Length: 33 inches. Weight: 42.8 ounces. 2) D&M "Clipper" Bat. The center brand displays the D&M company logo, next to which is stamped the name "Clipper." Stamped below the center brand is the number "50." The bat features a rounded semicircular knob and flat barrel end. Heavy use, including light deadwood. The "Clipper" stamp is light, but legible. In Very Good condition. Length: 34 inches. Weight: 41 ounces. 3) D&M "Bat. The bat features the D&M logo stamped in the center, below which is stamped the number "25." The unusual knob is similar in style to that of a "ball-balanced" bat, but is smaller in circumference. Heavy use, including deadwood, a small area of wood loss on the reverse, and a five-inch multiple crack in the handle. Good condition. Length: 32 inches. Weight: 35 ounces. 4) Wright & Ditson "Major League" Bat. This unusual two-tone bat features a light-wood handle and a dark-wood barrel. The center brand stampings, all done in block letters, read "Wright & Ditson Victor - Major League - No. 97 Model V3." Heavy use, including a four-inch crack in the handle. Good to Very Good condition. Length: 31.5 inches. Weight: 34.2 ounces. 5) Reach "Mushroom" Bat. Reach version of the mushroom bat first introduced by Spalding. The bat features a "mushroom" shaped knob, hence its name. The Reach logo is stamped in the center, next to which is stamped "No. 2 M - Pat. Aug 1 05." A ten-inch-long wrap of vintage black tape remains on the handle. Heavy use, including deadwood and grain separation on the back of the barrel. In Good to Very Good condition. Length: 34.5 inches. Weight: 36.4 ounces. Total: 5 bats. Reserve $300. Estimate $600/$1,200. SOLD FOR $2,938
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