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Lot # 1174 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Circa 1890 Circus Ticket with Horses Playing Baseball

Starting Bid - $200.00 , Sold For - $235.00

This circa 1890s ticket stub for the Walter Main Circus, "The Grandest and Best Show on Earth," is notable for its inclusion of a woodcut illustration picturing the circus' main act: horses playing baseball. To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest known reference to animals of any kind engaging in our national pastime and predates by a number of years the more famous baseball-playing elephants of the Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1913. It is also the only evidence that we have ever seen of this long-lost chapter of equestrian baseball history. The Walter L. Main circus was well known for its equestrian acts. The circus was actually founded in Cleveland in 1886 when Walter Main and his father were able to purchase twenty horses at the rock-bottom price of $200 because the city was replacing its horse-drawn streetcars with electric trolleys. Years later, the circus would boast sixty-three performing horses on stage at once. As noted on the ticket, the Walter Main Circus featured the "Only horses on earth trained to play base ball." It's not known how long the act survived; however, our research has failed to uncover any additional references to the famed baseball-playing horses of Walter Main. The circus remained in operation through the 1940s. This ticket stub (2.5 x 5 inches) was a complimentary pass issued by J. D. Ford (as noted by the printed notations on the front) and has been signed by Ford on the reverse. Aside from minor discoloration in the lower right (not affecting the illustration), the ticket stub is in Excellent condition. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $235.00

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