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Important James Naismith Archive Regarding Birth of Basketball. Simply the most historically significant documents regardin...

2006 December Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction: The Naismith Collection #706

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Auction Ended On: Dec 8, 2006
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Dallas, TX
Important James Naismith Archive Regarding Birth of Basketball. Simply the most historically significant documents regarding the creation of the game of basketball ever offered to the public. These pages represent the sport's "Book of Genesis," second in importance only to the original rules that were hung on the bulletin board in the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA gym. The manuscripts date from the earliest moments of the sport's history, and represent Naismith's first attempts to answer Dr. Gulick's challenge to create a new indoor sport.

1) "Copy of the Basket Ball Rules, 1891." These two typed pages (measuring 6x9.5" in their entirety) represent an early personal copy of the rules posted on the Springfield YMCA bulletin board. We believe that these pages date to the first year of the game's existence, and the amateurish typing is clearly the work of Naismith himself, replete with the sort of typographical missteps characteristic of the many manuscripts in this auction. One will note that this version lacks the text "into the basket" made in a handwritten edit to rule number 8 of the posted Springfield version (see number "2" in this lot for Naismith's photostatic copy). This fact establishes that this typed copy predates that notation. Attention must also be given to the text and underlines typed in red which appear to be illustrative of the creative process. This red text is present in the Springfield posted rules. Some toning and light edge wear cause no significant problems, and must be excused given the monumental importance of the document. Errata: Please note that Dr. Naismith's personal typed copy of the Rules was likely produced later than originally believed, probably in the early years of the twentieth century.

2) Dr. Naismith's personal photostatic copy of the Official Rules as they were posted on the bulletin board for the First Game. These are printed on two sheets of photographic paper, each at dimensions of 8x10". Mild edge and corner wear, but nothing that diminishes visual appeal.

3) Working draft for a game entitled "Hylo Ball." This was a game dreamt up by Naismith during the same period in which he invented basketball, developed in a somewhat less successful attempt to innovate a new sport. It appears to be a variation upon the sport of soccer. Extensive handwritten notations are rendered in Naismith's ink and pencil, including the title at the top. Pages exhibit mild edge wear and toning, EX.

4) Working draft for a game entitled "Scruggy Ball." This also was developed by Naismith during the same period as the invention of basketball. A single typed page delineates the game's twenty rules. No handwritten notations. Edge chipping does not infringe upon typed copy, G-VG.

5) Working draft for a variation on football. This was a third sport developed by Naismith for Dr. Gulick. Some scattered handwritten edits and notations, with further handwriting and a diagrammed play on the verso of the single sheet. All writing is 9/10 or better. Page is VG.

6) Three-page typed outline of the creation and early evolution of the game in the 1890's. Many handwritten edits and notations. VG-EX.

7) Five handwritten pages on the early rules changes, with developments like "1898: goal fr. field 2, [goal fr.] foul 1." It appears that these pages were written during the 1920's. All pencil writing 9/10 or better. Pages VG-EX.

LOA from PSA/DNA. Estimate upon request.

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