MLB‘s founding documents are hitting the auction block this spring as SCP Auctions is handling yet another historic sale.
This time, it’s a 74-page hand-written artifact — the original constitution of The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs — that outlines its objectives. Among them are to “encourage, foster and elevate the game of baseball, enact and enforce proper rules for the exhibition and conduct of the game, to make baseball playing respectable and honorable, to protect and promote the mutual interests of professional baseball clubs and professional baseball players and to establish and regulate the ‘Baseball Championship of the United States.'”
This follows the sale of the 1857 “Laws of Base Ball” for $3.26 million one year ago today by the Laguna Niguel, Calif.-based company
The document was crafted in a meeting held on Feb. 2, 1876, in New York City where Chicago White Stockings owner William Hulbert met with a number of baseball luminaries including Albert Spalding, Harry Wright, Nicholas Young and Morgan Bulkeley to draw up their plans. It’s never been available to collectors on the open market before.
“This, the founding document of Major League Baseball, is a central piece of Americana, inaugurating an institution that would come to be a defining aspect of American culture,” said SCP Auctions VP Dan Imler. “Nearly 150 years ago, William Hulbert saw the future of what baseball could be. He set a new standard for the game and created a professional baseball league that has not only lasted, but has blossomed into a global institution.”
The auction will begin on May 24 and close on June 10.
“We’ve sold some incredible baseball artifacts before – from Babe Ruth‘s 1920 Yankees jersey for $4.4 million to Kirk Gibson‘s 1988 World Series home run bat for $575,000 – but this artifact trumps them all,” Imler said. “Without these documents, such objects would not exist.”
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