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1949 The Masters Signed Photograph Presented to Ben Hogan....

2010 April Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction #717

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Auction Ended On: Apr 23, 2010
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
1949 The Masters Signed Photograph Presented to Ben Hogan. Unquestionably the finest and most historically important autographed golf piece ever to reach the public auction block, this remarkable artifact is essentially a "get well card" for iconic linksman Ben Hogan from the participants in the 1949 Masters Tournament. Two months earlier, the car Hogan had been driving collided head-on with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge east of Van Horn, Texas. Hogan had thrown his body across his wife Valerie's in the passenger seat in order to protect her, escaping certain death as the steering column impaled the driver's seat. The accident left Hogan with a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone and left ankle, a chipped rib and near-fatal blood clots. Doctors were unsure that Hogan would ever walk again, but few doubted that his golf career was over.

Days after leaving the hospital, but still well before his miraculously successful convalescence was complete, Hogan received a shipment from Augusta, Georgia containing this remarkable gift, a framed 15x19" photograph (matted and framed to 25x26") of all Masters competitors, a wide selection of former Champions, and various others, posed on a rolling fairway with the gallery behind them. Elegantly penned beneath the photo are the following words of encouragement:

"To Our Friend Ben Hogan,

On the eve of the 1949 Masters Tournament we send you heartfelt good wishes for a speedy and complete recovery. In the above photograph you will notice a silver humidor which Bowman, Leven and Tom have in their care. We take this means of letting you know that our signatures are to be engraved on it and the humidor will then be delivered to you in affectionate appreciation of what you have meant to us and to the Masters Tournament."

Ninety-seven signatures fill the wide lower border formed by the matting, an outrageous assortment of Masters Champions past, present and future, and various other legends of the game. Fifty-one of the fifty-three participants in this 1949 tournament are present, and eleven Masters winners representing every Champion since the event's inception except for Ralph Guldahl, who did not participate in the 1949 contest. Among the names:

Master's winners: Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Henry Picard, Jimmy Demaret, Craig Wood, Herman Keiser, Claude Harmon, Sam Snead, Cary Middlecoff.

1949 participants (excluding those already listed above): Johnny Bulla, Lloyd Mangrum, Johnny Palmer, Jim Turnesa, Lew Worsham, Joe Kirkwood, Jr., Clayton Heafner, Herman Keiser, Herman Barron, Leland Gibson, Bobby Lock, Charlie Coe, John Dawson, Jim Ferrier, Frank Stranahan, Pete Cooper, Bob Hamilton, Dutch Harrison, Lawson Little, Tony Penna, Fred Haas, Skip Alexander, George Fazio, Dick Metz, Skee Riegel, Art Bell, Billy Burke, Vic Ghezzi, Ellsworth Vines, Johnny Revolta, Harry Todd, George Schneiter, Al Smith, Herschel Spears, Fred Mosely, Denny Shute, Ed Furgol, Otto Greiner, Gene Dahlbender, Jr., Dick Chapman, Mike Turnesa, Bob Sweeny.

Other notables: Bob Jones, his father Robert P. Jones and Masters chairman Cliff Roberts, Bobby Locke.

Signature quality is exceptional, 8/10 or better without a single exception. The piece came to our consignor from a former employee of Hogan's to whom the Hall of Fame golfer gave the photo personally. Piece has been reframed with UV resistant non-glare glass, but is otherwise 100% original and unrestored. Unquestionably a once in a lifetime opportunity for the advanced golf collector. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA. Auction LOA from James Spence Authentication.

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