Extremely Rare Shoeless Joe Jackson Autograph Sells For $23,100
NEW YORK - If he wrote it, they will pay.
A signature of Shoeless Joe Jackson sold for $23,100 at a recent New York auction, but that's only half the story. The proud purchaser turned around and sold it at a profit the next day.
Ironically, the ultimate recipient was the auction's underbidder.
Lelands, a Manhattan sports memorabilia house, bought the unattached signature at a Dec. 6 auction conducted by Rockville Centre's Herman Darvick. One day later, Lelands proprietor Joshua Evans worked out a cash-merchandise deal with a prominent East Coast collector who had submitted a sealed bid.
``To be honest, when we bought it we didn't know for sure that we could sell it,'' Lelands manager Howard Kresner said. ``The next day, we contacted several of our premium customers.''
Kresner said the underbidder didn't seem to mind paying a premium price when the offer came. ``All he said was, `If it's the real thing, I want it.'''
Kresner said terms of the deal with the underbidder prevent him from disclosing the purchaser's name or specifics of the transaction. ``I can say that we made a substantial profit,'' he said.
The signature is believed to be one of a handful written by Jackson, an illiterate who was unable to write his name until late in life.
According to Darvick, $23,100 for an unattached signature - one that is not part of a letter or document - trails only that of Button Gwinnett, who died one year after affixing his name to the Declaration of Independence. Gwinnett's signature sold at an auction for $56,000.
In comparison, autographs of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig sold for $1,100 each at a Dec. 6 auction.
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