1889 A. G. Spalding & Bros. Sporting Goods Catalog and 1889 Spalding's Guide

Sold For: $2,350

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1166

Item Year: 1889

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Two complimentary publications issued by A. G. Spalding & Bros. in 1889. 1) 1889 A. G. Spalding & Bros. Sporting Goods Catalog. This exceedingly rare catalog, which is the first example we have ever seen, contains the complete line of "Summer Sports" athletic equipment offered by the famous A. G. Spalding & Bros. company in 1889. The colorful front cover features a crossed bats and baseball motif (highlighted by the Spalding Official National League ball) and four athletic vignettes, including a baseball game in progress. The back cover promotes the company's line of tennis equipment and pictures a portrait image of former two-time U.S. Open champion H. W. Slocum Jr., "The Champion of America." Baseball was firmly entrenched as America's national pastime in 1889, so it's not surprising that nearly one-third of the catalog's forty-eight pages are devoted to baseball equipment. This book is a treasure trove of information for both collectors and historians alike, as it features illustrations and complete information for all of the company's baseball products, including balls, bats, gloves, score books, shoes, and uniforms. In addition to baseball, the catalog offers products associated with the sports of tennis, football, cricket, croquet, lacrosse, and fencing, as well as various gymnasium equipment and bicycles. The catalog also displays a large interior advertisement for the 1889 Spalding Guide (a copy of which, ideally, is included in this lot). The soft-bound catalog (11 x 8 inches) has a number of minor flaws commensurate with its age and fragile nature, including a number of edge and corner tears to both covers and partial separation of the covers along the spine (all of the pages are firmly bound). The catalog also has two moderate vertical folds. Although technically in Good to Very Good condition, all of the colors remain bright and vibrant and the piece is extraordinary for display. Extremely rare and the first example we have ever seen. 2) 1889 Spalding's Base Ball Guide . The 173-page guide (4.25 x 6.5 inches) offers comprehensive information regarding both the National League and American Association, and, most important, provides one of the earliest accounts of the legendary 1888-1889 World Tour. Complete with its original paper covers. In Very Good condition, with a few moderate edge tears, but still a strong example given its extremely fragile nature, and ideal accompaniment to the extremely rare 1889 Spalding catalog. Total: 2 items (catalog and guide). Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $2,350

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