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1866 Unions of Morrisani vs. Una Mt. Vernon Trophy Ball
Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $23,200.00
Exceptionally high-grade trophy ball from the first game of the 1866 season for both the Unions of Morrisani and the Una Club of Mt. Vernon, both prominent teams of the era and each members of the National Association of Base Ball Clubs. Though no definitive history of the Trophy balls once displayed in the Unions' trophy case exists, it is known that many years ago (we believe prior to the 1940s), the team's trophy balls were broken up from their original display case and scattered to the collecting winds. Today, it is very rare to find even a single example, and it is likely that many have not survived. A few can be found in the hobby's most advanced collections. A few have found their way over the years to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. All are extremely desirable and significant. The ball commemorates a victory by the Unions of Morrisani over the Una Club of Mount Vernon on May 19, 1866. As was the custom of the day, this is the actual game ball used during that match, which was later decorated and presented to the winning club for display in its clubhouse. The gold painted ball bears the the date, score of the game and number of innings in black lettering: "1866 May 19 - Union 25 - Una Mt. Vernon 11 - 9 innings." In addition to their rarity and inherent aesthetic appeal, trophy balls are also desirable in that they are among the most significant surviving relics from the earliest days of our national pastime. This particular ball originates from an exciting and now-legendary find of approximately eight Union club trophy balls that surfaced over two decades ago. Virtually all known Union trophy balls in private hands originate from this single find. Of that grouping, the offered ball represents one of the finest in terms of condition. There is some light crazing to the gold painted surface (normal for its age) and a small mounting hole at the bottom. Adjacent to the mounting hole is a small circular area of discoloration resulting from its original manner of display (not visible when the ball is resting properly). All of the black lettering remains bold and distinct. Accompanying the ball is a reprinted summary of the game that was originally published in the May 21, 1866 issue of the New York Clipper. According to the article, this match represented the first game of the season for both clubs, each of whom was a member of the National Association. Union is referred to as a "...well known first class organization..." while the Una Club "...only began match playing with Association clubs late last fall." Despite the lopsided score, the article admonishes fans not to take the Unas lightly: "We would warn clubs in general, who may desire a game with the Unas, that if they think they are getting hold of a 'country club,' they will find themselves mistaken. The Unions, with a very fine nine, found it no easy task to beat them." The ball is accompanied by a magnificent custom-made wooden framed display (23-1/2 x 21 x 4 inches) that is designed to house and properly present the trophy ball, and which features a copy of the aforementioned New York Clipper article printed in 1866. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$6,000. SOLD FOR $23,200.00
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