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1860 Hamilton/Knickerbocker Challenge Letter
Starting Bid - $800.00, Sold For - $7,475.00
In baseball's pioneer days, before schedules were drawn up, teams formally challenged each other to matches by letter. Offered is an extremely rare and early "Challenge Letter," which is an especially remarkable specimen as it involves the legendary Knickerbockers, the very first baseball club. The letter (5 x 8 inches), on Hamilton Base Ball Club stationary, presents a formal invitation to play by the Hamilton Base Ball Club of Jersey City to the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club. It is interesting to note that the Hamilton club's Jersey City home base is right next to Hoboken, the site of Elysian Field, where the Knickerbockers played the very first organized game in 1846. The partially pre-printed document, dated "Jersey City Sept. 13th, 1860," and addressed "To the President & Members of the Knickerbocker B B Club NY," reads as follows: "Gentlemen, I am instructed by the "Hamilton Club," to invite the "First Nine" of your Club to play a match game of Base Ball ("on the fly") upon our grounds at Long Dock Jersey City, on Saturday Sept. 29th. Hoping that the above may prove acceptable, I remain, Yours Truly N.B. Shafer Sec'ty Box 208. PO Jersey City." An extraordinary document dating from the first year of the Civil War, at the dawn of the great popularity the game of baseball in America. Normal mailing folds. Excellent to Mint condition. Reserve $800. Estimate $1,500/$2,500. SOLD FOR $7,475.00
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