Circa 1850s Lemon-Peel Ball

Sold For: $960

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 1495

Item Year: 1850

Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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Nineteenth-century lemon-peel ball, so named because its stitch pattern mimics the cuts used to peel a lemon. This ball features the classic lemon-peel design and is constructed of a single piece of leather, with the stitches meeting together at a single point along the top. This ball, which is well crafted, with tight stitching, measures 9.75 inches in circumference and weighs 5.6 ounces. 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). Given that rule change and the dimensions of this ball, it seems highly likely that it dates to the early 1850s. The ball displays heavy wear, including abrasions, but all of the stitching remains intact. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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