1859 Olympic BBC Constitution and By-Laws

Sold For: $3,231

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1137

Item Year: 1859

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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1859 Constitution and By-Laws of the Olympic Base Ball Club of South Brooklyn issued to team members (24 pages plus covers, published by Wm. D. Roe & Co., Stationers and Printers, No.59 Wall Street). Extremely significant team constitution, one of the few known dating from the 1850s. Constitutions such as this are extremely rare, as they were issued only to team members, and extremely significant, as they document the earliest formal by-laws, rules, and structure of organized baseball. This is one of only two examples of this rare volume we have ever seen, and it ranks, by far, as the finest known. The Olympics of South Brooklyn were one of the most prominent clubs of the 1850s and 1860s, and are of all the greater significance as one of the earliest teams based in Brooklyn. They were also charter members of The National Association of Base Ball Players, the very first formal baseball organization. All baseball constitutions and bylaws dating from the 1850s are extremely rare. An example such as this, from such an important team, is an extraordinary find. Includes bylaws, rules of the game as, at that time, just adopted by the National Association of Base Ball Players, and two pages devoted to a list of NABBP member teams, accompanied by a schedule listing each team’s date of organization, places of play (for example, “Elysian Fields, Hoboken” for the Knickerbockers), and “Dates of Play” (the days of the week each club had scheduled to play). The constitution (3.5 x 5.5 inches) displays only a few extremely minor imperfections and presents nearly exactly as it did when first issued. There is a very minor surface wrinkle on the front cover and the back cover displays a few tiny areas of light discoloration. A name ("Markham, H. B."), written in pencil, appears along the base of the page listing the members of the Brooklyn Club. (Markham may have been a member of the club who was mistakenly left off the roster or joined the club after the time of printing; the fact that only ballplayers received copies of this constitution - they were not available for public sale - makes this likely.) In spectacular Excellent condition overall. A stellar example of this extremely significant rarity dating from the earliest days of baseball in Brooklyn. The book is housed in a custom-made folding solander case for optimal display and preservation. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $3,231

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