1864 American Boy’s Book of Sports and Games

Sold For: $593

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 971

Item Year: 1864

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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1864 first edition of The American Boy's Book of Sports and Games (Dick & Fitzgerald, New York). This important early baseball volume holds the distinction of being the first book to feature a color plate relating to baseball. The 600-page hardcover book devotes ten pages to the game of "Base-Ball," which is prefaced by a gorgeous full-color illustration of a game in progress. The players are dressed in period uniforms and an umpire can be clearly seen seated off to the left near home plate. In addition to the baseball plate, the book also features three other color illustrations: ice skating, gymnastics, and fencing. Because the color plates are so attractive, it was very common at the time (or in later years) for people to remove them for display. As a result, most of the few surviving examples are missing either one or all of them. The offered volume is one of the rare exceptions and features all of its color plates as issued. That fact, along with its outstanding overall condition, makes this volume perhaps the finest known example. The covers displays light wear, including a few very light stains and the binding remains tight and firm. Some of the interior pages display light toning/foxing, but the majority are clean and bright. A few pencil notations appear on the front flyleaf, while a small tear affects the final page of the book. In Very Good condition overall and complete as issued with all of its color plates. We cannot recall having ever seen a finer example of this important early baseball book. This no doubt relates to its provenance: This book originates from the personal collection of highly respected longtime scholar Barry Sloate (who has specialized for many years in rare baseball books and authored some of the most respected articles ever published on the subject). Of the many examples of this book he handled over a period of decades, he handpicked this one and kept it as the finest, and the only one that had all the color plates and original tissue guards intact. This book, along with a few other favorites he chose to keep for so many years from his original collection, have been consigned to this auction directly by Barry Sloate. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $593

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