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Lot # 970 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1850s/1860s Extraordinary Two-Tone Lemon-Peel Ball

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,185

Rarely seen two-tone lemon-peel baseball dating from the early 1850s/1860s. This is one of the most unusual early baseballs we have ever seen in that the ball features alternating panels of brown and red leather. This is the first example of a two-tone ball that we have ever offered, and we cannot recall having seen another. The ball is constructed with four separate panels that have been hand stitched together in a "lemon-peel" fashion. Given the ball's weight (2.2 ounces) and size (7.25 inches in circumference), it is most consistent with those used in the New England game. On May 13, 1858, the Massachusetts Association of Base Ball Players established its playing rules at a convention in Dedham, Massachusetts. As recorded in The Base Ball Player’s Pocket Companion (1858), pp. 20-22, Rule No. 1 reads: The Ball must weigh not less than two, nor more than two and three-quarters ounces, avoirdupois. It must measure not less than six and a half, nor more than eight and a half inches in circumference, and must be covered with leather. The ball displays moderate wear throughout, including a number of minor abrasions and/or tiny tears commensurate with its age and former use, and all of the stitching is intact. This is both an outstanding and highly unusual relic dating from the earliest days of our national pastime, not to mention a true conversation piece, which would be a worthy addition to any advanced collection of nineteenth-century baseball memorabilia. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185

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