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1868 The Game of Base Ball by Henry Chadwick
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $5,332.50
The Game of Base Ball by Henry Chadwick. First edition, published by George Munro & Co., New York, 1868. (The cover of the book bears the title Chadwick's American Game of Base Ball.) The Game of Baseball is not only one of the earliest histories of our national pastime, but also one of the most important. Chadwick was the preeminent sportswriter of his day and is universally regarded as one of the game's founding fathers. Chadwick's role in the emergence of baseball as our national pastime was great. As a chronicler of the sport he was continually promoting the virtues of the game to the American people in newspapers, magazines, and books. At the same time he was writing about baseball he was also actively contributing to the game's evolution as a board member on various rules committees. The complete title of this book is The Game of Base Ball - How to Learn it, How to Play it, and How to Teach it - With Sketches of Noted Players. If any man were qualified to write such a book at the time it was "Father Chadwick." This remarkable hard-bound volume includes rules and instructions for the game, profiles of many leading players, summaries of famous matches, box scores, and other important historical information relating to the early days of the game, much of it found nowhere else. "The Chadwick Book," as it is often referred to by advanced collectors, is considered a cornerstone of all important baseball libraries. In addition to its historical significance, the book is also extremely rare. Today fewer than twenty copies are believed to be in existence, making this work highly sought-after by both baseball collectors and bibliophiles alike. This particular volume once resided in the famed Barry Halper Collection and was one of the cornerstones of his advanced baseball library. In 1999 it appeared as Lot 2 in the Sotheby's sale of Halper's collection, where it was purchased by our consignor for $8,625 (the original Lot tag accompanies the book). It has remained in his possession since that time. As noted on the interior front cover in pencil, this volume was once the possession of an early baseball club. Although the name of the team is faded and difficult to make out, the letters "B. B. C." (Base Ball Club) are clearly legible below it. The book (4.25 x 6.5 inches) displays heavy wear to both covers and the gilt-stamped title on the front cover is badly faded, but still legible upon close inspection. Both covers are reinforced against the spine with white tape along the interior. A few areas of light, scattered foxing are evident on the pages, as are a few stray pencil notations. In Very Good condition overall and a particularly fine example of this rare volume that is universally revered as one of the most important of all baseball books. The volume is housed in a custom-made leather-bound solander case for optimal display and preservation. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $5,332.50
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