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1893 "Zimmer's Base Ball Game" Proof Game Board
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,740.00
Zimmer's Base Ball Game is the most spectacular of all baseball games, and one of the most highly prized of all nineteenth-century baseball display pieces of any type. This game was produced by McGoughlin Brothers, the premier game-maker of the day, and is one of only three pictorial endorsed baseball games issued during the 1800s. It was personally endorsed and designed by Cleveland catcher "Chief" Zimmer and is, with good reason, referred to as "The Mona Lisa of all baseball games" by Dr. Mark Cooper in his definitive work on the subject, Baseball Games, Home Versions of the National Pastime 1860s-1960s (1995, Shiffler Publishing). It is also extremely rare, with fewer than ten known examples. Offered is a proof version of the game board that includes all of the gorgeous portrait images which appear on the field of play: Buck Ewing, Amos Rusie, Dan Brouthers, John Ward, John Glasscock, Billy Hamilton, Jimmy McAleer and Sam Thompson. The game's designer, "Chief" Zimmer, is most prominently featured in front of home plate. This proof has the presence of a complete board, but in fact is trimmed along the sides and missing the player portraits appearing on the sidelines of a complete game. The identification of this piece as a "proof" lies in the fact that neither the metal fielding "catches" nor the pitching mechanism have ever been applied. In their stead are either red print lines or an "X," proof marks to provide guidance for the manufacturer's assembly. Being a proof, the lithography has also never been mounted onto a pressed cardboard backing, which of course is another part of the game manufacturer production process. The game board has been elegantly matted and framed. The visible area (16 x 16 inches) displays a few minor tears both in the right field area (not affecting Thompson's portrait) and across Zimmer's chest, none of which detract from the game's overall Excellent appearance. Bright, crisp, and clean, this game board proof is the only example known, and displays with the same majesty of a high-grade complete Zimmer game. "Zimmer's Base Ball Game" is the most desirable of all nineteenth-century baseball board games. Its extraordinary rarity has resulted in the Zimmer game being virtually unattainable to collectors, and very expensive on the rare occasions when one does surface. This particular example, because it is not a complete game, serves not only as a fine representative example of the Zimmer game, and an extremely attractive nineteeth-century display piece, but also represents a relatively affordable alternative to a complete game, examples of which have sold for in excess of $10,000 on each of the few occassions they have appeared at auction. Dimensions: 16.5 x 16.5 inches. Beautifully matted and framed to total dimensions of 24 x 24 inches. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $1,740.00
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