August 2014
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/15/2014

Beginning in 1936, major league baseball created a committee whose purpose was to recognize and honor the very greatest former players that contributed to the rise of the sport. The first five men elected were Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson, with 21 more legends selected before the official opening of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on June 12th, 1939 in Cooperstown, New York, recognized birthplace of baseball. The 11 surviving members, including newly enshrined George Sisler and Eddie Collins, attended the event and were the first to see their sculptured busts immortalized into an exclusive brotherhood that today numbers just 306 in total. Presented is a first day cover that honors the opening of the baseball Hall of Fame, postmarked June 12th, 1939 and signed by the 11 surviving members that entered the hallow hall on that day. Several months after the ceremony, the father of our consignor, a stamp collector and baseball fan, took on a successful challenge of writing to each of the honored ballplayers to have them sign the first day cover. Though our consignor knew of the first day cover's existence, which the family called the "baseball envelope," he also discovered, amongst his father's personal effects, letters addressed to Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Eddie Collins with the request for them to add their signature to the cover. The letters are crafted on 1930s style typing paper and dated September and October of 1939, with typewritten return envelopes from Johnson and Collins. Our consignor has also included a copy of his father's birth certificate to verify that the envelopes are indeed sent to the correct party at the listed address. As for the piece itself, it's simply spectacular! Every advanced autograph expert, and most self-admitted novices for that matter, has an image of each and every one of these legendary autographs committed to memory. To see each one of them neatly and accurately presented on such an historic canvas defies belief and enters the realm of the surreal! While Babe Ruth's thick fountain pen autograph is the initial eye-grabber, one needs to just simply catch a glimpse of the spot-on Ty Cobb penning just to the south, with Speaker, Wagner, Young, Alexander, etc... lined up to the left as though some fortunate skipper was filling out the most legendary line-up card imaginable. Also addressed to the consignor's father, the finishing touch comes with Walter Johnson's autograph at the base as if fighting for "face time," a completely absurd notion until you look at the array of legends presented. There is likely not another specimen in existence that can ever approach the importance that this priceless document represents! LOA from James Spence Authentication/JSA.

*** ADDENDUM *** The signature of Honus Wagner is the most difficult of the group to authenticate because of numerous changes in both his writing style as well as his preferred signing name (i.e. J. Honus Wagner, Honus Wagner, Hans Wagner, John Wagner, etc). JSA has deemed the signature of Wagner on this piece to be "secretarial," a common practice meant to acknowledge the request without any intended malice. All other signatures have been verified as authentic by JSA.

Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $36,734.40
Number Bids: 22
Auction closed on Friday, August 15, 2014.
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