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Circa 1885 Base Ball Board Game (J. Ottmann)

  • Sold For: $474
  • Year: 1885
  • Auction: 2012 spring
  • Lot #: 980
  • Auction Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

Rare circa 1885 baseball game, titled, aptly Base Ball, issued by the J. Ottmann Lith. Co. This is the first example of this particular game we have ever seen. It is also a particularly beautiful game that is ideal for display. The colorful cover pictures a detailed illustration of a batter and catcher on the field. It is interesting to note that the catcher is wearing both a fingerless glove on his right hand, and a smaller glove, similar to a workman's glove on his left hand. That combination, along with the style of chest protector and catcher's mask, helps to date the game to the mid 1880s. It was during that time that catchers began wearing padding on their hands, with the smaller gloves pictured here soon evolving into a single glove that we recognize as the standard catcher's mitt today. The accompanying spinner dictates the game action and four wooden markers serve as the "base runners." The bottom of the interior box serves as the game board and features an illustration of a playing diamond, complete with fielders and base runners. The box (8.25 x 8.25 x .75 inches) displays light wear commensurate with its age and former use, but is overall in remarkable condition. There are tears along the corners of the end flaps on both the top and bottom, some of which have been repaired on the interior with clear tape. A name is written on the bottom of the box in pencil (most likely the name of a former owner). Technically in Very Good condition overall, but much closer to Excellent with regard to its exceptional display value. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $474

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