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1860s Mort Rogers' Resolute Base Ball Club Equipment Trunk
Starting Bid - $1,000.00, Sold For - $2,350.00
Large wooden equipment trunk, dating to the 1860s, once belonging to Mort Rogers of the Resolute Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, New York. This trunk comes with the provenance of having originated from the personal collection of Henry Chadwick, who, in turn, later passed it on to his good friend and fellow sportswriter Sam Crane in 1907. That transaction is documented in a letter from Chadwick to Crane that appears in this auction as a separate lot. This trunk meant a great deal to Chadwick and it was important to him that it be left to someone who would take equally good care of it. In his letter (a photo copy of which accompanies the trunk) Chadwick writes in part ... My Dear Mr. Crane, Enclosed I send Mort Rogers' trunk from the Resolute Club of the sixties. Many fond memories come to mind when I look amongst its contents. I think of all the many fine contests of the past. I know you will truly appreciate the trinkets that have been given to me through the years...These relics will be safe with you forever. Henry Chadwick. Both the trunk and the original letter were obtained together directly from the Crane estate. The trunk, which measures 35 x 16 x 12.75 inches, is exceptionally sturdy and in Very Good condition given its age and former use. "Resolute B. B. C." is visible on the top of the trunk in faded gold paint. The name "Chadwick" appears on the front side of the trunk, also in faded gold paint. The trunk displays heavy wear throughout and is missing the original side handles. A number of other screw holes are also present, indicating that other modifications have been possibly made to the trunk over the years. The front latch remains intact. The keys to the two front locks are not present. Although the contents of the trunk, as mentioned in Chadwick's letter, have long since been dispersed, it still contains a few significant "trinkets" within. Most notable are two blue silk team ribbons from the era as a well as a lined sheet of paper bearing Chadwick's handwritten notations. All of the interior items, including a few period newspaper clippings, have been affixed to the interior top of the lid. The first of the two silk ribbons (7 x 1.5 inches) simply reads "Burlington" and is both tattered and torn, though completely intact. The other (9 x 1.25 inches) reads "Alert - Danville, PA" and displays a few light stains from the adhesive on the reverse. Each of the ribbons is lettered in gold. The handwritten sheet (6 x 8.25 inches), penned by Henry Chadwick in black fountain pen, is titled "The best club averages of the Brooklyn nines" and lists the names of ten Brooklyn teams along with their respective runs and averages. Among the teams included in the list are the Resolutes (a star has been drawn next to their name), Excelsiors, Eckfords, Stars, and Independents. Chadwick has initialed the sheet ("H. C.") along the bottom. News clippings include the front page of the July 21, 1866, issue of Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper featuring engravings of the officers of the National Association and a partially torn newspaper illustration picturing a game in progress between the Resolutes and the Athletic Base Ball Club of Philadelphia. Artifacts such as this, dating from the earliest days of our national pastime, are exceptionally rare. The fact that this trunk once belonged to Mort Rogers, one of early baseball's most well known pioneers and later a successful entrepreneur (collectors will instantly recognize his name as the publisher of the famous Mort Rogers pictorial scorecards of the 1870s) only adds to its great historical significance. Mort Rogers was also the publisher of The Ballplayer's Chronicle , the first newspaper devoted entirely to baseball, and this fact also is no doubt related to the connection between Rogers and Chadwick. It is also interesting to note that Chadwick and Rogers both appear together in the 1864 Brooklyn Resolutes carte-de-visite (of which one of the two known examples is offered as a separate lot in this auction). Rogers served as the First Vice President of the National Association of Ball Players. This is a fascinating and unique early baseball piece that is enhanced by the provenance of having originated from the personal collection of "The Father of Baseball," Henry Chadwick, and which once saw use by Mort Rogers when he was with the Brooklyn Resolutes, one of the most famous and prominent baseball clubs of the 1860s. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Please Note: Due to the size and/or weight of this lot shipping costs (depending on where it is sent and its method of shipping) may be substantial. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,350.00
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