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Lot # 1057 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1889 Catcher's Mask

Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $296

Early baseball catcher's mask dating to the nineteenth century. Few pieces of such early baseball equipment have survived the ages, making this a particularly noteworthy and rare relic from the game's formative years. All of the original leather pads remain intact and firmly attached to the metal framework. The only flaws of any note are a tear in the back portion of the canvas head strap and the loss of a metal buckle on one of the three leather straps that attach the head strap to the main framework. No manufacturer's label is present. Although the piece is undated, it can be reasonably attributed to circa 1889 because of photographic documentation. In REA's May 2013 auction we offered a team photo of the 1889 Worcester baseball club (Lot 839) that pictured various equipment laid out in front of the club. One of the pieces was a catcher's mask that appears to be identical in design to the one offered here. The catcher's mask, which was invented in 1876 by Harvard captain Fred Thayer, along with the baseball glove, are probably the two pieces of baseball equipment that have changed the most since their inception. As one can see here, this mask is primitive when compared with the catcher's masks of today and its meager protection is one of the reasons that catcher's gear was referred to as "the tools of ignorance" during the late nineteenth century. Very Good condition overall. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $296

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