Cast-metal baseball figurine picturing a generic member of the Chicago Base Ball Club, circa 1876. The figurine, featured in a pitching pose, displays a "C" on its chest and the words "Chicago Club" on its belt. This is actually one of a matching pair produced at the time, with the other picturing a generic member of the Hartford Base Ball Club in a batting pose. Fortunately, the figurines can be accurately dated to the four-year period 1874-1877 because of Hartford's short-lived major league status. Hartford joined the National Association, baseball's first professional league, in 1874. Two years later the club became a charter member of the National League before folding after the 1877 season. These figurines were a popular design at the time, and we have seen them incorporated into a number of different products, including a lamp base. (Presumably all date from circa 1876, though it is always possible the manufacturer used the design for additional years.) As one can see here, the figurine is also extremely attractive as a stand-alone piece. The figurine (7 inches in height; 3.5-inch diameter base) displays wear commensurate with its age, including light chipping to the gold paint. In Excellent condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+.
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