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    The finest autographed Matty photograph on Earth?

    1911 Christy Mathewson Signed Photograph from The Frank W. Smith Collection, PSA/DNA Mint 9. The apparent lightning strike and burst of ambient light just beyond the extended fingertips of this Hall of Fame hurler is nothing more than a darkroom aberration, but it serves the theme well, both as a commentary on the electrifying skills of the subject and the intense rarity of the piece itself. The number three man on the career victories ladder, Mathewson stands as a defining figure of the sport's Dead Ball Era as much as he stands in contrast to it.

    His utter pitching supremacy is evident in his eye-popping record of 373-188--a nearly two-to-one ratio of success--and a career earned run average of just 2.13. But in an era of boozing, brawling and beanballing, the college-educated Mathewson shone as a diamond in the sport's rough, touted in the day's sports pages as "The Gentleman Hurler."

    This image finds the inaugural class Hall of Famer engaged in one of his finest seasons ever, a campaign that would conclude with a twenty-six and thirteen record, a National League-leading 1.99 ERA, and the second of three consecutive Senior Circuit flags for his New York Giants. It's a one-of-a-kind image, Mathewson following through on a warm-up toss before a slowly filling grandstand at Chicago's West Side Grounds. The wide-bordered shot is printed on a 5x8" sheet of photographic stock, with the photographer's esoteric serial coding in pencil at right margin.

    Across that lightning burst beyond Matty's outstretched hand resides one of his finest autographs we've encountered in any format, an unusually large "Yours Truly, Christy Mathewson" black fountain pen ink inscription assessed at a Mint 9 level by the notoriously strict graders at PSA/DNA. The photograph itself is free of any condition issues beyond the remnants of black scrapbook paper affixed to reverse. The photo otherwise displays without any hints of a century of aging. With exceptional quality and ironclad provenance, this is, quite possibly, the finest Mathewson signed photograph in the hobby, bar none. Full Grading LOA from PSA/DNA, Mint 9. Full LOA from James Spence Authentication.

    The Frank W. Smith Collection

    For the second time in three years, the state of Ohio has proven to be the geographical origin of one of the most thrilling discoveries in hobby history. In the spring of 2012, the Buckeye State served up the incredible "Black Swamp Find" of pristine 1910 E98 baseball cards, a stunning time capsule of untouched cardboard picturing the greatest stars of the day, immortals like Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Cy Young. In one fell swoop, the known population of Mint condition Dead Ball Era trading cards from any issue was expanded by multiples.

    Heritage is now proud to announce a newly-unearthed autograph collection that could stand shoulder to shoulder with that fabled trading card find in terms of significance, rarity and its remarkable state of preservation. Named for the Cleveland Plain Dealer photographer who assembled the remarkable collection, The Frank W. Smith Collection is a truly peerless amalgamation of one-of-a-kind vintage photography and the flawless autographs of the subjects captured.

    Among the targets of Smith's lens and autograph requests appear some of the true immortals of the game, most notably the legendary "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, the illiterate superstar whose path to Hall of Fame immortality was derailed by the scandal of the 1919 World Series fix. His labored pencil signature on Smith's skilled portrait establishes the pristine relic as the only known Joe Jackson signed photo in existence.

    The majority of the photographs were snapped at Cleveland's 1911 spring training grounds of Alexandria, Louisiana, and most of that team is captured in photographic and autographic format. Napoleon Lajoie, after whom the team was nicknamed (the Cleveland Naps) during his tenure, is present, one of twenty-nine members of the third-place American League squad.

    The balance of the signed photography focuses on the 1911 National League Champions, the mighty New York Giants. Counted among those fifteen subjects are two of the earliest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame, legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson and esteemed manager John McGraw.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,911

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Feb 22, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
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