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Lot # 1143 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1850 Lemon Peel Ball

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,896.00

This early lemon peel ball is distinguished by its high degree of craftsmanship. Based upon the fact that it is constructed from four separate pieces of leather, this ball most likely dates to the mid nineteenth century (circa 1850), which marked the dawn of organized baseball. Although this ball was constructed during earliest days of our national pastime, it may well have been used to play any number of ball and/or bat games, including, but not exclusively limited to, baseball, rounders, and "one o' cat." Balls constructed of four separate pieces of leather, like this example, represent the most primitive form of ball construction, as they are the easiest to cut and assemble. The ball displays three interior stitched panels and one exterior stitched panel, as is commonly seen. Although simplistic in its design, the level of expertise displayed in the three tight, interior stitched panels (the stitches are barely visible along the edges of each panel) is evidence of this ball having been constructed by a skilled artisan. This ball weighs 2.2 ounces and measures eight inches in circumference. 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). The fact that this ball is much smaller and lighter than either of those earlier specifications indicates that it most likely dates to an earlier time period, when ball and bat games were still the domain of children. Adding to this ball's appeal is its remarkable condition. Despite evidence of former use, including a few minor abrasions and nicks, the leather retains its supple nature, displaying little-to-no cracking as is normally found on nineteenth-century balls. In Excellent condition overall. This is a remarkable surviving example of a mid nineteenth-century ball in exceptional condition. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,896.00


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