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Lot
81134

Early 1800's Unsigned Feather Ball....

2011 November 10-11 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction- Dallas #7041

 
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Auction Ended On: Nov 11, 2011
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

Description:
Early 1800's Unsigned Feather Ball. The feather-ball period lasted from the sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century when the gutta-percha ball came into vogue. Only the richest patrons of the game could afford feather balls in that they were time-consuming to make, with a full time maker only able to hand-produce three to four feather balls in a day. The leather used was untanned bull's or horse's hide cut into two round pieces for the ends and a strip for the center, being sized to suit the final diameter and weight desired. After softening with alum and water, the three pieces were sewn together with a small hole being left to turn the casing inside out so that the seams were smooth on the surface. This same small hole was used to stuff the select goose or chicken feathers, which were wet, into the ball's interior. The tiny hole was then sewn shut with a single final stitch. With drying, the leather contracted and the feathers (actually a natural polymer) expanded, resulting in an extremely hard yet elastic sphere. One old time writer said a good feathery was "as hard as whale bone". After painting and sometimes stamping the maker's name, the ball was ready for use. Only approximately 300 feather balls exist today.

This used feather ball is a fine representative from the period when only the wealthy could afford to play golf. The ball is in well-used but solid condition, with intact seams and is completely original. Lot derives from the Philadelphia Private Golf Museum.

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