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1868 The Game of Base Ball by Henry Chadwick
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,800
First edition of The Game of Base Ball by Henry Chadwick, published in 1868 by George Munro & Co., New York. (The cover of the book bears the title Chadwick's American Game of Base Ball.) The Game of Baseball is not only one of the earliest histories of our national pastime, but also one of the most important. Chadwick was the preeminent sportswriter of his day and is universally regarded as one of the game's founding fathers. Chadwick's role in the emergence of baseball as our national pastime was great. As a chronicler of the sport he was continually promoting the virtues of the game to the American people in newspapers, magazines, and books. At the same time he was writing about baseball he was also actively contributing to the game's evolution as a board member on various rules committees. The complete title of this book is The Game of Base Ball - How to Learn it, How to Play it, and How to Teach it - With Sketches of Noted Players. If any man were qualified to write such a book at the time it was "Father Chadwick." This remarkable hardbound volume includes rules and instructions for the game, profiles of many leading players, summaries of famous matches, box scores, and other important historical information relating to the early days of the game, much of it found nowhere else. "The Chadwick Book," as it is often referred to by advanced collectors, is considered a cornerstone of all important baseball libraries. In addition to its historical significance, the book is also extremely rare. Today there are believed to be fewer than twenty copies in existence, making this a highly sought-after volume by both baseball collectors and bibliophiles alike. The offered hardbound volume (4.25 x 6.5 inches) is new to the hobby and comes with a unique provenance, as noted by the vintage black-ink inscription on the front flyleaf that reads "Blue Stocking/Base Ball/Club/Jackson Tenn/1881/presented by/Dave Meriwether Esq." A second vintage black-ink inscription on the interior front cover reads "This Book is the property of the Blues." The name "W. T. Harris/Jackson/Tenn" is written in pencil on the facing page. This book once belonged to R. E. Johnson, who was the longtime sports editor of the Nashville Tennessean. It has been consigned directly by Johnson's son, who told us that his father always considered it one of the most significant volume in his vast sports library. The book displays a number of small abrasions and/or tears to the decorative paper mounts on both covers; however, the gilt-stamped title on the front cover remains perfectly legible, as does nearly all of the advertising text on the back cover. The impression of a former bookplate is evident on the interior front cover. An old newspaper clipping remains housed between pages 94 and 95, which has resulted in brown toning on each page. With that exception, all of the remaining pages remain clean and bright. The spine remains tight and all of the pages are firmly attached. In Very Good condition overall and a particularly fine example of this rare volume that is universally revered as one of the most important of all baseball books. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $4,000++. SOLD FOR $4,800
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