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Lot 241

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Lot Number: 241

Description: Significant 1871 Eagle Base Ball Club advertising broadside (28"x42"). Driven by the pioneering efforts of Alexander Cartwright, Henry Chadwick and Daniel "Doc" Adams, organized baseball, with its evolving rules and structure had begun to take a foothold in American culture by the mid-19th Century. The hub of this genesis was New York City where the earliest established clubs such as the Knickerbockers and the New York Base Ball Club reigned as the flagship organizations beginning in the 1840s. In 1848 "Doc" Adams, as Knickerbocker president, headed a committee to revise the Constitution and By-Laws with Alexander Cartwright serving under him. This vital interest in the refinement of the rules of the game coincided directly with the formation of additional clubs, beginning with the Washington Base Ball Club in 1850, and the Eagle Club. Originally organized to play town ball in 1840, the Eagle Club later reconstituted itself as the Eagle Base Ball Club in 1853. The rules for playing baseball remained very crude up to this time, but in 1853 the Knickerbockers, WBBC, and the Eagle Base Ball Club united in a revision of the rules and regulations. By the close of 1856, nine more clubs were formed, and it was decided to hold a convention of delegates from all twelve clubs for the purpose of establishing a permanent code of rules by which all should be governed. A call was issued, signed by the officers of the Knickerbocker Club as the senior organization, and the result was the first convention of baseball players in May 1857. "Doc" Adams was elected presiding officer. Among the ratifications determined at this meeting was that the winner of a base ball game was defined as the team with the highest score at the conclusion of nine innings, rather than the first team to score twenty-one runs. In March of the following year, the second convention was held, and at this meeting the annual convention was declared a permanent organization, and with the requisite constitution and by-laws became the "National Association of [Base] Ball Players." Offered here is one of the most visually impressive and historically important 19th Century advertising pieces we've ever encountered. Representing one of the first New York clubs, the 1871 broadside poster celebrates the 18th Anniversary of the Eagle Base Ball Club. Measuring a remarkable 28"x42", this delicate paper display piece features a printed proclamation, "E.B.B.C. 18th Anniversary of Eagle Base Ball Club" around a large, exquisitely engraved scene of a game in progress. Event details presented include the location, "Landman's Hamilton Park at 69th St. & Third Ave.," and the date "Friday, August 25, '71' with details regarding a Dance to follow the game. The printer of the poster is identified at the bottom as "Palmer & Corse, Printers, No. 80 Vesey Street NY". A "Committee of Arrangements" at the bottom lists several dozen names involved in the organization of the event, including Eagle Base Ball Club treasurer Henry M. Bellows. This poster was originally obtained by the descendents of Henry Bellows, who preserved it for the better part of 140 years. The condition of the piece is extraordinary considering its age, fragile composition, and intended purpose. The printing and artwork remain vibrant, while the structural integrity of the poster is uncompromised. Three horizontal and one vertical fold line are apparent with some very minor wear noticeable mostly at the edges. A "C" shaped tear at the center, just below the game scene has been repaired by thin tape on reverse and a 3" border tear appears at the top left edge. A couple of very small tears appear along one fold line. The poster is in completely original, unrestored condition w/ note to tape repair. There is no significant paper loss to speak of. Its size, subject matter and print quality are nothing less than extraordinary and make for an "in person" experience that can't be conveyed with a catalogue or online image. A peerless example of 19th Century baseball advertising, the precise likes of which have not previously been seen in the marketplace. Framed: VG/EX-EX

Estimated Price Range: ($10,000-$15,000)

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