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1822 Children's Amusements with Earliest Baseball Woodcut
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $15,080.00
1822 edition of Children's Amusements published by Samuel Wood & Co. No. 261, Pearl Street (New York); And Samuel Wood & Son, 212 Market Street, Baltimore." This volume is of incredible significance to the universe of printed matter relating to the game of baseball. Scholars are usually amazed to find any reference to baseball, or what could could be reasonably interpreted as referring to the game, prior to the early 1830s. Samuel Wood's Children's Amusements contains the very first published illustration of the game of baseball in America. This 1822 edition is actually the second edition of Children's Amusements. The first edition was published in 1820, and the only known example of the 1820 edition is in the permanent collection of the The American Antiquarian Society, which is a national research library of pre-twentieth century American history and culture. While scholars have heard rumors that an 1822 edition exists, the offered example is the only 1822 edition we have been able to locate in any museum or library collection. Theoretically, at least one other copy is out there somewhere, or the existence of the 1822 edition would be completely unknown. The book is comprised of twenty-eight numbered interior pages with chapters detailing various outdoor children's games, ranging from sailing boats to shooting marbles to archery to skating. Each activity is illustrated with a woodcut, and several activities in the first half of the book are accorded a greater prominence, with two pages devoted to them, including a full-page woodcut illustration. Pages 8 and 9 are devoted to the sport called "Playing Ball." A woodcut of the game, clearly an early version of baseball, appears on page 8, with the caption "Playing Ball," and the sub caption "With bat and ball, some boys we find, To amuse themselves, are much inclin'd." The text on page 9 briefly extolls the dangers of playing ball, because the use of "a club or bat" is required, and "sometimes sad accidents have happened." Significant general wear to the covers, but all is legible, and it is remarkable that the covers have survived intact at all. A few notes in ink on the front cover read "John Richard's" (very likely the name of a previous owner) and "Book Boston 1826." This name also appears on the back cover and on an interior page. The back cover provides a list of the series of "Juvenile Books published by Samuel Wood & Sons, New York, And Samuel Wood & Co. Baltimore." General wear to the back cover has worn away some of the lettering of the listed titles. The interior pages are complete and intact. The pages are primitively bound together with string which is carefully threaded along the entire spine and which appears to be original to the book, but may have been added long ago. The interior pages, including the baseball pages, are all relatively clean and free of serious problems. Children's Amusements is larger than most chapbooks of the era, with pages measuring 4 x 5 inches. Robert Edward Auctions has specialized in early printed matter and other materials relating to the earliest days of the game for the past thirty-five years. The rarity of this piece speaks for itself, but is difficult to communicate the reverence we have for the significance of this item. Although it may not look like much, because this book features the earliest representation of the game of baseball in America, it has a profound historical significance. This Samuel Wood & Son volume illustrates the dawn of the origins of baseball in America. It is one of the most important items in existence relating to the development of baseball as the National Pastime. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $1,000/$10,000. SOLD FOR $15,080.00
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