1885 Chicago Opening Day Baseball Program

Value (2007) | $8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
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GUEST:
This desk belonged to my grandmother. I can remember it when I was a little kid, and I just always admired it. And now it's mine and I treasure it very much.

APPRAISER:
It's a lovely desk. You brought it here to the Roadshow and did you find anything interesting about it?

GUEST:
Well, actually, I learned that it's not as rare as I had thought.

APPRAISER:
But you found something in the desk.

GUEST:
Yes, I did. When I was cleaning it out to bring it, I found this envelope that contained an old photo of a sports team.

APPRAISER:
Right, now, it's an old Western Union telegraph envelope.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
And it says "Chicago Ball Team 1885." And this was your grandfather's handwriting, I assume?

GUEST:
No, actually, it's my great-grandfather.

APPRAISER:
Well, why don't we take a look at what's in the envelope? Let's just put it here like this. And we see it's a souvenir.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
"Dedication of the Chicago Ball Park, Saturday, June 6, 1885." Now, the Chicago Ball Park became known as West Side Park, and that's where the Chicago White Stockings played. Now, the Chicago White Stockings was the name of the team that would later become the Chicago Cubs. They're in the National League.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
They actually started in 1876. So here we are, 1885, this is ten years later, and they needed a new park. And this is the dedication souvenir program from that day. They played the Saint Louis Maroons and they ended up winning the game. Let's open up the program and see what's inside, shall we? Here we have an actual image of the West Side Park, and on the bottom we have a team photograph.They were captained by a gentleman named Cap Anson. He was probably the 19th century's greatest hitter.

GUEST:
Oh, my.

APPRAISER:
Also on the team was Mike King Kelly, right here. One of the greatest catchers of his day, and famous, they made a song, "Slide, Kelly, Slide."

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
Then even more interesting here is a young man named William Sunday, Billy Sunday. He would go on to become one of the most influential evangelists in the United States. Now we can turn it around. We see here... ...it gives the names. Billy Sunday is underlined !

GUEST:
Yeah, I don't know why.

APPRAISER:
because he went on to become famous. Now, 19th-century baseball collectibles are amongst the rarest and most desirable of all sports memorabilia. That you got going for you here. Then you have the Chicago Cubs. One of the most collected teams, and the condition's amazing. As far as value goes...

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
I'm curious. What did this desk come in at?

GUEST:
This was $2,500.

APPRAISER:
$2,500, which is...

GUEST:
yeah, that's not bad, it's beautiful.

APPRAISER:
Yeah. It's beautiful.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
But you could probably buy about four of these desks because I would estimate that between $8,000 and $12,000 at auction.

GUEST:
Oh, my God. That was just... I just happened to bring it by chance.

APPRAISER:
It's a remarkable piece. !

GUEST:
I am shocked. I'm really shocked.

Appraisal Details

Appraised value (2007)
$8,000 Auction$12,000 Auction
Event
Baltimore, MD (June 16, 2007)
Period
19th Century
Material
Paper

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