Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Cleveland Naps and New York Giants comprise the most thrilling autograph discovery in years!

    1911 The Frank W. Smith Collection Balance of Fifty-Seven Signed Photographs.
    The complete collection as it was compiled and then stored and forgotten for over a century comprised sixty signed photographs, and here we present 95% of that original population, every image but the "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, Christy Mathewson and Napoleon Lajoie representations that precede this lot. It's a remarkable time capsule from the heart of the Dead Ball Era, a leatherbound scrapbook that recounts a warm spring in Alexandria, Louisiana, where the Cleveland Naps prepared for the approaching 1911 American League season. The New York Giants images were snapped at the 1911 Chicago Cubs' home park, the West Side Grounds, later that same year.

    A few exceptions to the theme lead off the album, images shot and signed both before and after the 1911 season, but the remarkable quality is consistent throughout, with bold autographs and minimal wear to the images themselves. What follows is an inventory of contents, beginning at the front of the album and continuing to the end. Note that some of the men apparently didn't ever make the Major League cut and thus are difficult to identify or simply unknown to even the most educated baseball historian:

    Ernest Barnard, William Blackwood (Naps traveling secretary) and Edna Jameson (Naps receptionist), Detroit Tigers image unsigned, Fred Sypher (sporting editor of the Youngtown Telegram) and T.L. Terrell (Naps coach), Deacon McGuire (Naps manager), R.J. Gilks (Naps coach), Joe Birmingham, Sam Kennedy (Naps coach), Doc White (Naps trainer), Fred Blanding, Willie Mitchell, Vean Gregg, Cy Falkenberg, George Kahler, Earl Yingling, Gene Krapp, Spec Harkness, Hi West, [unknown], Ben DeMott, Harry Farrwell, [unknown first name] Kraft, Walt Doan, Jack Adams, Grover Land, Syd Smith, Ted Easterly, Judge Nagle, Jack Graney, Ivy Olson, George Stovall, Dave Callahan, Cotton Knaupp, Herman Bronkie, Art Griggs, Gus Fisher, Eddie Hohnhorst, Spud Hennessey (Giants bat boy), John McGraw (removed and graded PSA NM-MT 8), Chief Meyers, Rube Marquard, George Hartley, Hooks Wiltse (lightly smeared), Doc Crandall, Red Ames, Beals Becker, Larry Doyle and Josh Devore, Louis Drucke, Fred Merkle, Arthur Fletcher, Art Devlin, [unknown], Gene Paulette, Bert Maxwell, Fred Snodgrass, Arlie Latham, Red Murray.

    The autographs are applied with either pencil or fountain pen ink, and average 8/10 or better with almost no exception. The Naps images are almost exclusively 8x10" in size, and the Giants 5x8", with all exhibiting minor handling wear and a few light to moderate creasing, but none falling below a technical VG rating. The average is somewhere between EX-MT and NRMT. Full Grading LOA from PSA/DNA, NM-MT 8 (John McGraw example). Balance pre-certified by PSA/DNA.

    Please note that the photo album is imaged below in its entirety, including the signed photographs of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, Napoleon Lajoie, and Christy Mathewson, however those signed photos are not included with this lot.

    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: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,851

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

    Sold on Feb 21, 2015 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 8 days left to consign to the 2021 August 21 - 22 Summer Platinum Night Sports Auction!

    Learn about consigning with us

    I want to again thank you for a job well done. Your professionalism prevailed through out the process for which I am so grateful.
    Jerry D.,
    New Ulm, MN
    View More Testimonials

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search