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Lot # 663 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1830s/1840s "Belt Balls" (2)

Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $2,610.00

Offered are two rare "belt balls" dating to the 1830s or 1840s. During baseball's early formative years, often the greatest obstacle in playing a game was not in rounding up participants, but in finding a bat and ball. Factory-made equipment was not yet available and all of the equipment needed, particularly the ball and bat, had to be specially created. Normally, that meant by hand, with most of the early balls characterized by their crude craftsmanship and irregular design. Later, as the level of play and competition increased, balls and bats were often specially ordered from local tradesmen. While more expensive, they were also well crafted, more uniform in shape, and lasted longer than their homemade cousins. Presented here are rare examples of each type of ball. Both of these early balls are termed "belt balls" due to the nature of their design, which consisted of a "belt" of leather running along the center, to which the two side panels were attached. The earliest of the two is a homemade "Town Ball" dating from the 1830s or early 1840s. The ball, which is approximately seven inches in circumference, is heavily worn and displays separations along nearly all of its seams. The second, which is an extremely early baseball, dates from the 1840s and measures nine inches in circumference. In contrast to the first ball, this example reflects a high level of craftsmanship and, though it is heavily worn, nearly all of the stitching remains tight and intact. Balls from this era are extremely rare, with the professionally constructed 1840s ball being a particularly rare and high-quality example. Total: 2 balls. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $2,610.00

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