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Circa 1870 "Oldest Ball From Baltimore" Trophy Ball (vs. New York Mutuals)
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $4,112.50
This circa 1870 trophy ball originates from the Baltimore area and has been identified in baseball literature in years past as being the oldest baseball in existence from that region. The ball is constructed of a single piece of brown leather but differs slightly from a lemon-peel ball in that it features a cross-stitch along the top. Although lettered in black paint, much of the wording has faded over time. This is the very ball which is pictured in the 1971 book The Home Team , The Champion Orioles!, an authoritative work on the history of baseball in Baltimore by James Bready (a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun ). The caption next to the photo of the ball describes it as “The oldest baseball in Baltimore. Presented to the Marylands by beaten foe, New York's Mutuals, about 1870, and guilded and lettered." (A photocopy of the page from the book accompanies). We can make out the "Mutuals" team name and many additional letters, but cannot decipher many others. The New York Mutuals at this time were one of the top teams in organized baseball and were owned by Boss Tweed. This ball long ago originated from the estate of Warren M. Goldsmith (1849-1915), an infielder and catcher with several Baltimore clubs in the 1860s and 1870s, including the Enterprise club and the Baltimore club of the National Association, one of the weakest teams in the first professional league. This is the very ball that was also displayed for years at The Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore. After many years of display, the ball was returned to the Goldsmith family, who in 1994 sold it directly to our consignor. (A copy of the original letter detailing the sale accompanies.) The leather has hardened with age and displays crazing throughout, as well as a number of moderate abrasions. In Good to Very Good condition. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $4,112.50
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