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Circa 1850s/1860s Lemon Peel Ball
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $533
Early lemon peel ball, so named because its stitch pattern mimics the cuts used to peel a lemon. 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 the 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 two interior stitched panels (smaller and tighter) and two exterior stitched panels (larger and looser). Although simplistic in its design, the level of expertise displayed in the two tight, interior stitched panels is evidence of this ball having been constructed by a skilled artisan. This ball weighs two ounces and measures 7.5 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. The ball, which appears to have been originally constructed of alternating shades of leather for the four panels, displays extremely heavy wear, including minor tears, numerous abrasions, split seams, and cracking to the leather. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $533
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