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1901 Boston Red Sox Stock Certificate Number One--The Birth of a Franchise!...

2011 November 10-11 Vintage Sports Collectibles Signature Auction- Dallas #7041

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Auction Ended On: Nov 11, 2011
Item Activity: 8 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1901 Boston Red Sox Stock Certificate Number One--The Birth of a Franchise! Perhaps the most significant artifact relating to the history of the Boston Red Sox ever placed upon the public auction block, this seminal document is the very first public stock certificate ever issued by the "Boston American League Base-Ball Club," granting to Joseph C. Pelletier eight shares of Capital Stock. Pelletier, the team's first president, is best remembered in history as the Massachusetts District Attorney and lead prosecutor of Charles Ponzi, namesake of the "pyramid scheme" that sunk Bernie Madoff. Clearly this investment in a baseball club which would come to be one of American sports' premier franchises was considerably more solid.

The 9x11.5" certificate is filled out and signed twice by Pelletier, once as the stockholder and again as team president at lower right. The team's treasurer also signs at bottom. A third Pelletier signature appears upon the attached stub at left, which expands the complete dimensions of the display to almost fourteen inches in width. Some chipping along the left edge of the stub remains clear of the writing. Each piece is dated August 19, 1901, less than four months after the Boston Americans debuted at Huntington Avenue Grounds with legendary hurler Cy Young on the mound.

A transfer agreement on verso adds to the historical intrigue, as Pelletier transfers six shares to John I. Taylor, the son of the Boston Globe publisher who owned the Red Sox from 1904 until 1911. This agreement is dated May 7, 1904, and therefore clearly relates to this transfer of power. A fourth Pelletier autograph attends.

The certificate remains in strong condition, with some expected age toning and mild edge wear. The original 1901 embossed foil seal at lower right shows some wear but remains in place. Of course minor concerns about condition must be dismissed in light of the tremendous rarity and relevance of this singularly important relic. Though the legal significance of this stock may have lapsed, the certificate remains a true investment piece for the advanced collector.

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