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    1914 Jack Johnson Handwritten Signed Note with Extraordinary Content. It's the most remarkable Jack Johnson autographed item we've ever had the good fortune to handle, arguably second in auction history only to the famous "confession letter" regarding his 1915 loss to Jess Willard that commanded over $25,000 nearly a decade ago. However this piece distinguishes itself as one of just a tiny handful of autographs dating to Johnson's self-imposed exile after fleeing the United States to avoid imprisonment following a 1913 Jim Crow-fueled Mann Act conviction in the courtroom of the notoriously racist future Commissioner of Baseball, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

    Johnson remained a fugitive from American "justice" until 1920, when he surrendered to authorities at the border and was incarcerated for a year at the notorious Leavenworth Penitentiary. Autographed material from this lengthy expatriation is practically non-existent in the modern hobby, and those pieces dating to the period prior to his controversial 1915 dethroning in Havana narrow that thin population to a sliver. From that scant handful of items, this is the only one we've encountered that speaks directly to the hardships of a reign as the first black Heavyweight Champion of the World.

    Johnson quotes William Shakespeare, the third act of Henry IV, Part II, to eloquently summarize his plight:

    "Uneasy is the head that wears the Crown, yours Truly, Champion Jack Johnson, Oct 8 - 1914."

    The note is boldly penned at a 9/10 average in black fountain pen ink on a blank page measuring 3.5x4". A thin sliver of tape at the upper edge suggests removal from an admirer's scrapbook. The date positions Johnson between his June 27th title defense against Frank Moran in Paris and his December 15th knockout of Jack Murray in Buenos Aires, his final bout before falling to Willard, but this extraordinary century-old piece derives from a London estate. It is encapsulated by PSA/DNA for protection and unquestioned authenticity.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    15th-17th Thursday-Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 16
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 797

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

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