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Circa 1850s Lemon Peel Ball
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $2,644
Extraordinary example of a classic professionally manufactured lemon peel baseball, with raised seams, most likely dating from the early 1850s. Superb quality. Professionally manufactured baseballs from this era, such as this example (which was obviously produced by a master craftsman, as opposed to an amateur homemade model), are particularly rare and highly prized. Materials, style, and dimensions date this ball from the early 1850s to no later than 1861. This ball is a slight variation to two similar-style raised-seam lemon peel balls we have offered previously (Lot 1088, May 2009; Lot 78, 2004) in that the stitching along the seams is visible (the two others featured interior stitching). It is also somewhat smaller and lighter, measuring 7.5 inches in circumference and weighing two ounces. In the late 1850s the National Association of Baseball Players changed the standard specifications of a regulation ball. The new rules required that the baseball weigh 6.25 ounces (up from the previous standard of 5.5 ounces) and have a circumference of 10.25 inches (as opposed to the earlier measurement of 9 inches). Based upon that ruling, it seems almost certain that this ball dates to he early 1850s as opposed to later. The ball displays numerous minor abrasions, as one would expect, but is free of any tears (so common to balls of this age) and all of the seams remain tightly laced. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $2,644
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