The highlight of the Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night sale will be what it calls “the most thoroughly documented Civil War soldier’s baseball in the hobby“. In 1911, the ball was the star attraction at a dinner in Los Angeles that was attended by James France, who had been a captain in the Seventeenth New York Regiment and brought it home from the war. The ball itself comes with newspeaper article with headlines from the February 18, 1911 edition of the Los Angeles Express – “Famous War-Time Baseball Will Be Shown at Banquet,” and continues on to state, “Members of Loyal Legion Will Fondle Old Sphere and Hear Story of the Part It Took in Army Sport During the Stirring Days of ’64.”
Crafted in the lemon peel style typical of the Civil War-era, the ball itself bears vintage handwritten block-lettered text that reads, “Zouave B.B.C.” and “Officers 17th N.Y.V.V.I.” The ball is deeply toned but text remains bold and the structural integrity of the sphere is strong with no loose stitching or major defects to the leather. It is consigned by the great-great grandson of Capt. Charles H. Pease, with his letter of provenance.
Also accompanying the ball is a modern printed transcript of many of Captain Pease’s letters home from the war and a 2011 letter of appraisal from noted Civil War historian Will Gorges.