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1892-1906 Wright & Ditson Minute Book Signed by George Wright (Twice) and A. G. Spalding (Four Times)
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $11,258
Hardbound ledger, constituting the official handwritten corporate minutes of the Wright & Ditson Company between the dates January 22, 1892, and November 20, 1906, signed four times by A. G. Spalding in his capacity as "temporary secretary" and two times by George Wright, as one of the directors of the company. This is a remarkable item, by far the most substantial and important (as well as valuable) of all items that we have seen or heard of from the historic find of Wright & Ditson business records that were discovered in 2013. This business ledger, which is comprised of 161 written pages, provides a treasure trove of information about the Wright & Ditson Company during the years 1892-1906, including the company's certificate of organization and its bylaws. It also records the sale of the company to A. G. Spalding & Bros., in February 1892. Interestingly, 1892 was the same year that Spalding also purchased the A. J. Reach Company, thereby solidifying itself as the country's preeminent sporting goods manufacturer. It should be noted, however, that Spalding continued to manufacture goods under both the Wright & Ditson and Reach company names for decades afterwards, and many people were unaware that all three companies were under single ownership. This book basically records all of the Wright & Ditson corporate business while under the control of Spalding Bros., up until 1906 (an entry on February 7, 1893, shows A. G. Spalding owning 9,997 of the company's 9,999 shares and George Wright owning 1 share).
All four of the A. G. Spalding signatures have been executed in black fountain pen directly on an album page, with his signatures appearing, respectively, on pages 108 (grading "10"), 109 (grading "10"), 121 (grading "9"), and 143 (grading "9"). The two George Wright signatures appear on individual typed documents, one dated July 21, 1903 and the other November 25, 1904, that have been affixed to their respective album pages (135 and 146). Both documents, which are signed in black fountain pen by Wright and the other two directors of Wright & Ditson, officially waive notice of a special meeting of the company's board of directors. The first Wright signature grades "9" and the second "8/9."
The Wright & Ditson Company was founded by George Wright and Harry Ditson (a Boston businessman) in 1871 and was one of the leading manufacturers of golf, tennis, and baseball equipment during its early years. As one can see here, George Wright remained a member on the board of directors of Wright & Ditson after the sale of the company, and he was present at nearly all of the meetings recorded in the book. This is a fascinating historical volume and one that will provide historians with a wealth of information regarding the Wright & Ditson Company, which was one of the most important early sporting-goods companies in history and a major supplier of baseball equipment. The ledger (8.75 x 13.75 inches), titled "Wright & Ditson - Minute Book," in gilt-stamped lettering on the cover, displays heavy wear to the boards, including the deterioration of much of the spine and partial separation of the front cover from the spine along the base. The pages remain clean and bright. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $11,258
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