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    Description

    1867 Silver Trophy Baseball Presented to Champion Liberty Club of Nyack, New York.

    "The Liberty Club played on the grounds east of Oak Hill cemetery and were the champion club of 1867. A silver ball the size of a baseball was awarded by Mr. Spencer Wood of New City, New York, following the tournament. There was a club called the Yankee Base Ball club in Nyack in 1866, a name that would take on its own meaning in the future. By spring of 1868 the best of the Old Liberty Base Ball Club was absorbed into the Tappan Zee Base Ball Club of Nyack."

    --Excerpted page 41, "Eyes on the Sporting Scene from 1870-1930: Will and June Rankin, New York's Sportswriting Brothers" by Pamela A. Bakker.

    Gorgeous silver relic is pure gold for those intrepid collectors focused upon the challenging subgenre of nineteenth century baseball, a piece that recalls the very first baseball league ever organized, the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP). Professionalism was still two years on the horizon, the cessation of Civil War hostility only two years behind.

    With more than 400 clubs enjoying NABBP membership in 1867, the assignation of any one "true" champion remained a logistical impossibility, and shoddy record-keeping of the loosely organized league leaves the specifics of this award somewhat shrouded in mystery. But Ms. Bakker's careful research in writing the history of the Rankin brothers found that this ball was the prize for a tournament victory involving teams with a geographical connection to New York City (the Liberty Club's Nyack hometown being thirty miles upriver from Manhattan).

    Remarkably, and clearly due to its continued presence in its original velvet-lined case, the silver ball remains in nearly pristine condition, engraved with "lemon peel" stitching to mimic the baseballs of the day and gorgeously fonted text reading, "Champion Ball Presented By Spencer Wood." A boy bearing that name who grew up to become a famous Naval officer was born to a prominent family in Brooklyn in 1861, and we suspect that his father may well have been Spencer Wood, Sr., and the donor of the prize. But this is only a theory.

    Certain, however, is the enormous significance and desirability of a piece which we believe to be the oldest silver trophy related to New York City baseball. It weighs six ounces (6 oz.) and is nearly identical in size to a modern official baseball. There are no maker's marks. The two halves of the hinged original case have become detached from one another, but it remains otherwise complete and well-suited to its intended duty.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,333

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