Football or basketball: What is this?

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Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby ScottWNJ » August 20th, 2013, 11:07 pm

Need a little help on this one. A friend of mine gave me this to list on Ebay for him. He said it was a turn of the century melon ball football. As I was photographing it to list on Ebay I began to wonder how anyone could get their hand around this to throw a pass. Its huge. So I started looking at photos of melon balls and couldn't find any that look like this. There are no stampings or markings. It is rock hard and I cannot find a place to inflate it. So what is this? I won't list it unless I can describe it accurately. If not, I'll return it to my friend. Hopefully someone here can ID this thing. Thanks.
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby Number9 » August 21st, 2013, 12:58 am

That pattern looks like a basketball to me.
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby glovejunkie » August 21st, 2013, 7:14 am

Yup, 1910-1920ish basketball, I believe. No air hole, lace-up style. Needed to unlace the ball each time to fill up the rubber bladder on the inside. More than likely the rubber bladder is no good (doesnt hold air anymore) and/or has already been removed and it's been restuffed with something else for display purposes.

Though melon footballs are similar, early ones also had no air hole, and they were much more round than today's footballs, more like a rugby ball. Yes, difficult to get hands arounds and throw, hence the development over the years, but they weren't completely round like this, and didn't have the 6-8 panels. Or at least I've never seen a football with that type of configuration either. But had a couple basketball just like this;) Hope this helps you out Bud!! Take care
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby vintagebrett » August 21st, 2013, 8:00 am

It is most likely a basketball but the circumference of the ball will give ou a better indication. During this time frame, basketballs, volleyball and association footballs all used pretty similar patterns. If its on the larger size of circumference (27-30 inches) is it most likely a basketball. If it runs on he smaller size (25-27 inches) then it's more likely a volleyball. An association football from this time period is similar in design but I don't know what circumference they were.
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby ScottWNJ » August 24th, 2013, 4:18 pm

I hate to beat a dead horse or, in this case perhaps, a pig, but I am still on the fence as to what this is. In its semi-deflated state it measures 27" around in one direction, and 29" around going end to end. I respect your opinions as to it being a basketball. The only thing that keeps me guessing is that there are no dimples or stippling anywhere on the ball. You would think they would be visible in the crevices near the seams. In any case, I've told the owner that it is probably not a melon ball as he was told by the person who sold it to him. He is going to follow up with that person. I will not be listing it on eBay but does it have any value as a collectible?
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby vintagebrett » August 24th, 2013, 6:20 pm

If its that large then it's most likely a basketball. It does have value - more so if you could put a new bladder in it. You mentioned the leather was hard - that may make it difficult to fix.
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Re: Football or basketball: What is this?

Postby glovejunkie » August 24th, 2013, 7:04 pm

I completely agree, I think it's a basketball, and again looks very much like a couple I've owned myself. These early ones probably never had dimples/stippling, so don't worry about that. And yes some value, keep an eye on eBay and you'll see some come up. Probably a couple hundred bucks is a good rough estimate. As has been mentioned though, obviously condition is everything, better you can make it the better off you'll be.
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