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Circa 1875 John Wilkinson Co. Sporting Goods Catalog Display
Starting Bid - $300.00, Sold For - $812.00
Stunning 1870s sporting goods catalog, printed in full color, ideal for display. For anyone wishing to know what the well-dressed baseball player of the 1870s was wearing, all they need do is gaze upon the pages of this extremely rare uniform catalog issued by The John Wilkinson Co. of Chicago, Ill. The twelve-page "accordion style" catalog features beautiful color illustrations of the company's line of sports uniforms including those for baseball, tennis, bicycling, yachting, and the gymnasium. Also represented is a fireman's uniform, complete with a line of belts. Eleven of the twelve pages picture a uniform sample for one particular sport, while the remaining page is devoted to the specific footwear for each respective activity. The fact that three of the pages are devoted to baseball uniforms (more than any other sport in the catalog) reflects the growing popularity of the game at the time. It is also interesting to note that two of the baseball jerseys pictured here incorporate the same shield-front design featured on that of the fireman's uniform. That similarity is not a coincidence. Many baseball clubs in the game's earliest days were organized by local fire companies, and early baseball uniforms were often styled after those of each club's local volunteer fire company, which normally featured the shield-front design. That style remained in vogue with baseball clubs from the late 1850s until the mid 1870s. By the mid 1880s, however, the shield-front design had all but disappeared from the diamond. The elaborate foldout "accordion style" design of the catalog allows it to be an extraordinary 1870s display piece. It is displayed in an ideal manner: completely unfolded between two sides of glass within a standup wooden frame, thus allowing for both sides of each page to be viewed in its entirety. The frame is affixed to a base unit, thus allowing it to stand freely. Unfolded, the catalog measures 21 x 6 inches. Bright and crisp, with flawless colors, in extraordinary Near Mint condition. This is the only example of this great rarity we have ever seen. Reserve $300. Estimate $500/$1,000. SOLD FOR $812.00
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