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1874 Philadelphia Base Ball Club Stock Certificate
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,233
Extremely early stock certificate dating from the dawn of professional baseball. This stock certificate, dated December 19, 1874, and issued to Daniel J. McAllister, is for one share of capital stock in the Philadelphia Base Ball Club and has been signed in black fountain pen by both the club secretary ("Chas. H. Tisdale") and president (difficult to read, appears to be "Geo. W. Young"). "Incorporated December 4th, 1874" is printed along the left border. An attractive woodcut illustration of a game in progress is displayed in the center of the certificate. The National Association, which was founded in 1871 and lasted five seasons, was baseball's first professional league. In 1875 the city of Philadelphia had three entries in the league: the Philadelphia Athletics, the Philadelphia White Stockings, and the Philadelphia Centennials. In looking at this stock certificate we have been unable to determine with certainty which of these franchises is represented. However, given what we do know, its seems highly probable that this certificate was issued by the Centennials. That determination is based upon the date of incorporation: December 4, 1874. The Centennials were a very short-lived franchise, joining the National Association in 1875 and lasting only fourteen games before folding. Both the Athletics and White Stockings were more established clubs and therefore it stands to reason that they were incorporated earlier. The Athletics were founded in 1871 and continued play in the National Association all five years before joining the National League for one season in 1876. The Philadelphia White Stockings were founded in 1873 and lasted three seasons in the National Association before disbanding after the 1875 season. Any and all baseball stock certificates dating from the years of the National Association are extremely rare, and the offered certificate is no exception. This is not only the first 1870s "Philadelphia Base Ball Club" stock certificate we have offered, but also the first we have ever seen. The certificate (10 x 6.25 inches) displays one horizontal and three vertical folds, along the lines of which are a number of tears. The piece also displays minor tears along the border areas and is slightly toned. In Good to Very Good condition overall. Mounted (most likely by means of adhesive) and framed to total dimensions of 16.5 x 12.5 inches. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,233
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