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American League founder, Red Sox team owner!1901 Boston Red Sox Stock Certificate Issued to Henry J. Killilea. The original founding fathers of the American League were a five-man team, and three of them are familiar names to anybody with a background in baseball history--Charles Comiskey, Connie Mack and Ban Johnson. The other two might not be so familiar--brothers Henry and Matthew Killilea, absent from the Cooperstown pantheon but nonetheless essential to the formation of the Junior Circuit. The former would briefly own one of the newly-formed League's most noteworthy franchises, most notably during the 1903 season that the Sox claimed the first-ever World Series Championship.
The presented stock certificate, just the seventeenth ever issued in franchise history (as noted by the serial number at upper left) established Killilea as the owner of 990 shares of Capital Stock in the "Boston American League Base-Ball Club," in a transaction dated "this 16th day of Sept 1901." The official signatures of the team's first treasurer and president appear at the bottom beside a gorgeous gold foil seal. The word "Cancelled" is scrawled across the face, executed at the time the stock changed hands.
This brings us to the verso of the certificate, where Killilea indicates the transfer of his shares to "John I. Taylor," the wealthy twenty-nine year old son of a Boston publisher who would own the team from 1904 until 1911. This certificate marks the sale of the team from Killilea to Taylor, dated "April 25, 1904," and bearing Killilea's exceedingly rare autograph at the close in 9+/10 ink.
Short of original storage folds, some expected toning of the ancient paper, and a tiny chip at lower right, the document survives with an astonishing absence of flaws. Certainly one of the most exciting relics from the infancy of the American League and the Boston Red Sox ever to surface in the collecting market, this is a piece that will greatly enhance even the finest of private Dead Ball Era holdings.
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