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Circa 1870s/1880s Uniform with Bib-Front Jersey and Cap

  • Sold For: $6,600
  • Year: 1880
  • Auction: 2020 spring
  • Lot #: 1731
  • Auction Category: Pre-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

Decorative and rare nineteenth-century uniform consisting of a bib-front jersey, pants, and cap. This is an outstanding ensemble and the first time we can recall having seen a complete nineteenth century uniform of this style at auction. The cream-colored wool jersey features a bib-front attachment bearing an Old English "U" appliquéd in gold on blue felt. The blue wool pants features an elastic waistband and three buttons on the side, as opposed to the front. The blue wool cap features an attached strip of blue wool, bordered in faded gold trim, across the front and a leather head band. None of the items bears a manufacturer's tag and there is no evidence of any tags having been removed. The jersey displays wear commensurate with its age and former use. There are a few small tears, some of which have been repaired (vintage repairs), as well as several small insect holes and a few tiny stains. Overall it remains in Excellent condition. The pants display light wear, with no tears, and are in Excellent to Mint condition. The cap displays moderate wear, including light soiling to the headband and cracking to the material in the brim, but there are no major tears and it remains in Excellent condition. It must be noted that while we believe this to be a baseball uniform, this style was also used by firemen and marching bands during the 1870s and 1880s. Also, although our consignor received all three items as a unit and they have been in his collection for decades, we cannot state with certainty that all three pieces were originally issued together as a uniform. Regardless of the uncertainties, which are inherent in nearly all similarly styled garments from this era, complete, high-grade nineteenth century uniform examples such as this are seldom seen at auction, making this, perhaps, a once-in-a-lifetime buying opportunity.

Reserve $500. Estimate (open).

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