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Lot # 1053 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Nineteenth-Century Figure-Eight Ball (Extremely Rare and Unusual Design)

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $1,304

Offered here is one of the most unique nineteenth-century baseballs we have ever offered in that it employs a figure-eight stitch pattern, but, unlike a true figure-eight ball, it is constructed out of a single piece of leather. In that regard it is more akin to a lemon-peel ball. 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). The offered ball measures 8.5 inches in circumference and weighs 4.8 ounces, which indicates that it probably dates to prior to that rule change. The expert craftsmanship evident in the stitching probably indicates that this ball was made by a professional who was simply improvising upon the two then-current methods of ball construction. Although we will never know the story and circumstances behind its origin, it remains a most unusual relic and an extraordinarily rare style, not to mention a fascinating conversation piece relating to the evolution of the baseball, dating from the earliest days of our national pastime. Reserve $300. Estimate $500++. SOLD FOR $1,304

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