DescriptionThe Earliest Known Base Ball Championship Trophy from the Former Confederate States, 1867. The essential historical text, "Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870: The Clubs and Players Who Spread the Sport Nationwide," identifies the winners of this important early artifact as the first team from the former Confederacy to undertake a northern barnstorming tour, a trip made during the enormously consequential baseball season of 1869. "The Southerns won six of seven games, losing only to the powerful Red Stockings of Cincinnati, and returned home to a torchlight parade." Dale Somers' "The Rise of Sports in New Orleans: 1850-1900" references an article printed in the New Orleans Picayune newspaper reporting, "Their defeat by the Red Stockings was to have been expected, as the latter club has been severely trained, and are what are known as 'professionals'-that is to say, they make a business of pleasure."
Here we encounter one of the most significant early baseball awards known to the collecting hobby, claimed by the Southern Base Ball Club of New Orleans as Champions of the State of Louisiana in 1867, a full two years prior to the team's meeting with the pioneering Hall of Famers George and Harry Wright in Cincinnati. It stands as the earliest known Championship award ever to emerge from south of the Mason-Dixon Line, just two years after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
The simple yet elegantly crafted sterling cup measures over half a foot in height, with engravings on opposing sides of the vessel reading, "La. State Fair Association, Baton Rouge, To the Champion Base Ball Club 1867" and "Won by the Southern Base Ball Club of New Orleans" respectively. Light tarnishing appears at interior of the cup but otherwise this peerless antiquity displays without fault, effectively unchanged from its creation nearly fifteen decades ago. For those historians and collectors with a concentration in the seminal artifacts our National Pastime, this is an offering with few rivals in rarity or importance, quite literally a grail for the advanced hobbyist.
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