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1862 Christmas Day Civil War Game Ball Given to Chadwick by A.G. Mills and Chadwick Signed Bible
Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $22,040.00
This lot consists of two very significant items, each related to Henry Chadwick and the Civil War: 1) 1862 Christmas Day Civil War Game Ball: This is an extraordinary ball: the only documented game ball, to the best of our knowledge, known to exist from a game played by soldiers during the Civil War. The lemon peel-style trophy ball has remnants of heavy paint decoration over the entire surface. There is no lettering visible on the ball, but attached by string and nail is an identification tag which is actually one of Henry Chadwick's Brooklyn Eagle business cards, on the back of which is affixed identification in ink in Chadwick's hand, which reads "This ball was used by Union Soldiers of the 165th New York Vol. Infantry Christmas 1862 From A. G. Mills" ("7/8"). This is a fascinating and very important game ball, actually used by soldiers during one of the most celebrated matches of the Civil War, given as a gift by A. G. Mills to Henry Chadwick, and documented as such by Chadwick in his own hand. Col. A. G. Mills played baseball before and during the Civil War. He served as President of the National League from 1882 to 1884. In 1905 he was appointed to oversee The Mills Commission. The purpose of The Mills Commission was to determine the origin of the game of baseball. The Commission, of course, would rule that evidence supported the story that Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown in 1839, a theory with which Henry Chadwick (along with most modern scholars today) found great fault. The game which is identified on the attached card is an extremely important and well-documented contest. According to Michael Aubrecht's Baseball Almanac article on Baseball and the Civil War, "One of the best attended sporting events of the nineteenth century occurred on Christmas Day, 1862 when the 165th New York Volunteer Regiment (Duryea Zouaves) played at Hilton Head, South Carolina with more than 40,000 troops watching. The Zouaves' opponent was a team composed of men selected from other Union regiments. A. G. Mills, who would later become the president of the National League, played in the game." The popularity of baseball among soldiers during the Civil War played a significant role in spreading the gospel of the game to the entire country. As soldiers returned home with their newfound interest in playing baseball, the seeds for the explosion of interest in the game which occurred in the years immediately following the Civil War were planted all across America. 2) Henry Chadwick Signed 1861 Civil War Book of Common Prayer: Small leather-bound hardcover bible (3.75 x 2.25 x 1 inches) is embossed in gold lettering on the cover with Chadwick's initials "H.C." Chadwick has signed in ink on the interior of the cover "Henry Chadwick Richmond" ("6"). An additional notation below, also in Chadwick's hand, reads "Good Friday 1861." This additional notation is light ("3") and has been rewritten clearly in another hand in pencil above. This volume is entitled "The Book of Common Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments; and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the United States of America together with the the Psalter, or Psalms of David" (D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1856). Chadwick began his career as a sportswriter in 1856, and was briefly a news correspondent in Virginia covering the unfolding events of the war as well. This is an extraordinary personal Chadwick signed item dating from Chadwick's days covering the Civil War. LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000. SOLD FOR $22,040.00
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