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1859 Broadsheet Reporting on the First Collegiate Baseball Game between Amherst and Williams
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,778
Exceedingly rare 1859 double-sided broadsheet (12.5 x 17.25 inches) reporting the results of the first intercollegiate baseball game, between Amherst and Williams College, held on July 1, 1859. Although most fans are aware that Williams and Amherst played the first collegiate baseball game, many will be surprised to learn that the baseball game was only half of the challenge between the two schools. The other challenge was a game of chess, which took place the following day. This "Extra" edition of the Amherst Express, which features the headlines "Williams and Amherst/Base Ball and Chess!/Muscle and Mind!!/July 1st and 2d, 1859," provides full details of both the baseball game and chess match. This is the first example of this broadsheet we have ever offered and we are only aware of a few others. The only other example we have seen at auction appeared as Lot 45 in Swann Galleries' December 4, 2003, auction (Printed and Manuscript Americana), where it realized $4,370. At the time, the Swann Galleries catalog description listed that broadsheet as one of only four known copies. While we cannot confirm that number, it is obviously a very rare piece, with few examples having survived. The paper describes in detail the origins of the match, the problems the two sides had in deciding on a mutually agreeable field of play, and, of course, the results of the baseball game and chess match, both of which were won by Amherst (the baseball game, which was played under Massachusetts Game rules, took over three hours to complete and ended in a 73-32 Amherst victory). The paper, printed on thin stock, displays both vertical and horizontal folds (as issued), a number of tears along the fold lines and edges, toning, and a few light stains. In Good condition overall. This is an extraordinary historic relic relating to the first intercollegiate baseball game and one that will not likely reappear at auction for quite some time. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,778
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