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Press Release - April 5, 2006
Heritage to Auction Signed Christy Mathewson Photo!
Dallas, Texas: He was a clean-living role model who sang in his local glee club, wrote children's books, and was a member of a literary society. One of the first players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb, he was popularly known as "Big Six" and "Matty," and was the leading pitcher of the early 20th century, with a career-winning percentage of .655, the sixth-best of all time.
"On Independence Day of 1914, the year in which this incredible photo was signed, the great Christy Mathewson shut out the Phillies in the bottom half of a Polo Grounds doubleheader to notch his 350th career victory," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles for Heritage Auction Galleries of Dallas, Texas. "With Babe Ruth nothing more than a promising prospect at the close of the year, and Ty Cobb a brilliant but unloveable star, it was Mr. Mathewson that held the collective hearts of baseball fans nationwide at the time he inked this remarkable photograph to a fraternity brother. It ended up being Matty's final winning season, a brilliant twenty-four and thirteen campaign that should have earned the Giants a fifth pennant under his reign if not for the improbable Miracle Braves."
"Those with any knowledge of the baseball autograph market need no explanation of the rarity and desirability of this piece," Ivy said. "Mathewson's tremendous fame and Hall of Fame relevance, paired with his early death in 1925 from tuberculosis brought on by World War I chemical warfare lung damage, directs supply and demand in extreme opposite directions. Collectors scramble for any slip of paper blessed by Matty's hand, well aware that the final few remaining examples are finding permanent homes and one day these opportunities will be gone. This is no mere slip of paper however. It's not even your typical Mathewson signed photo, if there were such a thing."
"This is one of the finest Mathewson signed artifacts ever to be offered for public sale," Ivy continued, "a thrilling oversized studio portrait of Christy in uniform with a conservative 8/10 fountain pen inscription to a Bucknell fraternity brother. The photo measures 10.5x13.75" in size and shows only light age toning, with a complete absence of creasing, tearing or foxing so typically seen with photographs of this vintage. The inscription reads, 'Best regards to Brother Gus From Christy Mathewson, Dec. 1914.' This amazing specimen, never before been seen in the hobby, should inspire some spirited bidding when it hits the auction block."
The 1914 Christy Mathewson Signed Large Photograph bears a pre-auction estimate of $20,000 - $30,000.
For more information about Heritage's auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HeritageAuctions.com.
To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Nicole Jewell at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272, or visit www.HeritageAuctions.com to order by email.