Promotional Poster for 19th Century Pro Baseball Game Coming to Auction

A rare color advertising poster from a 19th century professional baseball game will be sold at auction next month.   Bonhams will offer the poster touting a contest between the Boston Unions and the Philadelphia Keystones in its April 7 sale. The April 30, 1884 game was played near present day Copley Square in Boston’s Back Bay.

1884 Baseball PosterBoth teams were members of the Union Association, one of the earliest – and most short-lived – professional baseball leagues to emerge. It would be 17 years before the appearance of the American League and even the National League had been in existence for just eight years. Very few posters survive from this early period in baseball history and according to the London-based auction house the poster “will be especially prized owing to the stunning color lithography of the team uniforms”.

The pre-sale estimate on the poster is $15,000-$25,000.

Other baseball lots will include a rare issue of the earliest known baseball broadside, an Adams Transcript Extracovering the first intercollegiate baseball game as played by Amherst and Williams Colleges on July 1, 1859 (est. $3,000-5000). Also featured is a September 30, 1920 issue of the Chicago Daily Tribune with headline coverage of the infamous “Black Sox” scandal/1919 World Series (est. $400-600).

The sale includes over 300 diverse historical rarities encompassing rare newspapers, broadsides, photographs, books, and manuscripts dating from the 16th century through the 1960s.

Treasures from The Caren Archive takes place on April 7 at Bonhams New York. The auction will preview at Bonhams April 3-7.