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Extremely Rare 1867 Base Ball as Viewed by a Muffin by S. Van Campen
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,370
First edition of Base Ball as Viewed by a Muffin, illustrated by S. Van Campen (Tabor Bros., New Bedford, Mass., 1867). This is one of the rarest nineteenth-century baseball books extant, with probably fewer than six copies known (one of which resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame). Issued just two years after the Civil War, the sixteen-page volume lampoons baseball's reputation for roughness in the 1860s, and features comic illustrations of players suffering various injuries during the course of play. Many of these beautiful illustrations are well known from having been reproduced in countless books and periodicals over the years. Each of the sixteen black-and-white engravings, depicting various baseball situations, is titled, with a comment on the scene below. Advertising for Horsman's Emporium (New York) and the Milton Bradley Company, appear, respectively, on the front and back interior covers. An Andrew Peck & Co. advertisement adorns the back cover. The soft-cover book (8.75 x 5.75 inches) is in remarkable condition given its age and extremely fragile nature. A few light pencil marks are evident on the front cover and there is a minor pencil notation (appears to be from a secondhand book dealer) that lists the date "1945" and a price of "$25." Moderate-to-heavy wear is evident, including a few small edge tears and chips to both the covers and a few pages. Minor foxing also affects a number of pages. Much of the paper along the spine has been lost. Despite the book's technically accurate grade of Good to Very Good, it presents as Excellent and is, by far, the finest of the three examples we have ever seen. It is also notable for the fact that it displays no restoration. While auction records for this extraordinary rarity are naturally few and far between, the example from the Steve Cummings Collection (which was a restored example) realized $5,299 in 2000, and another example offered in 2002 sold for $4,817. These are the only two other examples we have ever seen at auction. This is a spectacular example of this great rarity and one that is seldom offered at public sale. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,370
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