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April 11, 1894, Syracuse YMCA Basketball Program - One of the Earliest Known Basketball Programs In Existence
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $1,185
Presented here is the third-earliest basketball program we have ever seen offered at public auction, dating just two years and four months following the invention of the game by Dr. James Naismith in December 1891. (The second-earliest basketball program, by one month, originating from the same source, also appears in this auction.) This program was issued for two basketball games played at the state armory in Syracuse, New York, on April 11, 1894. The first game matched the 5th Battery against the Dash Works, and the second was between the Y.M.C.A. and the Forty-First Separate Company. Ideally, it is accompanied by three period newspaper clippings covering both games. These rarities originate directly from the family scrapbook of Dr. A. G. Courtney Jr., who, as noted both in the program and newspaper clipping, served as the referee for the basketball match. (A copy of a cabinet photo of Courtney, also from the scrapbook, is included in the lot.) The only other basketball program we have ever seen that predates the two 1894 programs offered in this auction is one from February 21, 1894, which also originated from Courtney's scrapbook. That program appeared at public auction in 2011 and realized a final sales price of $7,260. It should be noted that both the precise date of the program and newspaper clippings are based on the vintage pencil notations written upon them, which were scripted by Courtney or a member of his family when they were placed in the album. The program (4.5 x 7 inches), which is simply a single sheet titled "Programme" at the top, is printed on thin paper stock and displays minor toning. There is also a tiny tear in the upper left corner and light adhesive residue on the reverse from its having once been mounted in the scrapbook. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The newspaper clipping (various sizes) remain in Very Good condition. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $1,185
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