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1918-1924 Reach Official American League (Johnson) Baseball in Original Unopened Box With Factory Seal Intact - Incredibly Rare!

Lot Number 558

Quantity: Bid Starts: 07/26/2019 12:00:00 
Bid Open: 2000.00  Bid Ends: 08/08/2019 23:30:00 
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In the realm of early sports collectibles - specifically those relating to the American League, the Deadball Era and the general shaping of our National Pastime – even the most fervent hobbyist will be at tremendous task to unearth an artifact as rare as this treasure: an Official American League Ban Johnson baseball in its original box with the surrounding seal securely fastened at its Philadelphia factory and still unopened for more than a century!


In the wake of recent attempts orchestrated by “upstart” professional sports leagues – in particular, a seemingly endless run of short-lived football organizations and the ill-fated 1989 Senior Professional Baseball Association – it becomes painfully obvious that established circuits and their inherent traditions are difficult to permeate. These tendencies and “laws,” if you will, give credence to the absolute genius of American League founder and inaugural President Ban Johnson. With his plan to implement a rival to the National League underway, he quickly exploited the Senior Circuit’s limited salary ($2,400) and prompted players to jump to his “Junior Circuit” (a league in which he had a vested interest, at separate intervals, in three of its teams). And so it was, with his revolutionary league well established and winners of 10 of the first 15 installments of the “World Series,” that Philadelphia’s Reach Sporting Goods issued the Official American League baseballs.


This particular example is, with high probability, the lone specimen that remains factory sealed and spared from the bats of Ruth, Jackson, Speaker and the like. The cardboard box, at a glance, is a breathtaking relic in that, save for a tiny edge tear and very minor indentations (evident upon close inspection only), is complete with sturdy corners and flaps. The retail design, meanwhile, dates to 1918-1924 and remains vibrant with no fading about the green, red and cream-colored hues. Trumping those details, the factory seal remains complete, surrounding the edge and sealed by an adhered certification with Johnson’s facsimile signature, thus ensuring that its contents have never seen the light of day. In summary, this is an amazing diamond artifact that has long outlasted its subject, whose unyielding personality clashed with that of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, leading to his ouster in 1928.

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