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Lot # 855 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

John Montgomery Ward Single-Signed Mini Ball - Extraordinary Rarity!

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $20,145.00

Official American League mini baseball signed by Hall of Famer John Montgomery Ward. Ward has signed the ball "John M. Ward" in black fountain pen on a side panel, with the signature grading "6." This is, to the best of our knowledge, the only John Ward single-signed ball extant, albeit a mini example. The ball itself was most likely either a salesman's sample or a promotional giveaway, as the opposite sweet spot bears the stamped notation "The Official Ball of the World Series." While its exact date of manufacture is unknown, the main stampings are consistent with balls produced between the years 1903 and 1925. John Ward is recognized as one of the most important and influential players of the nineteenth century. In addition to being a star pitcher, and later a standout shortstop for the N.Y. Giants during the 1880s, he was also one of Major League baseball's few true scholars. Ward was a college graduate (Penn State), and he later earned a law degree from Columbia. In 1890, Ward served as the leader of the short-lived renegade Players' League. Ward retired in 1894 and passed away in 1925, which was thirty-nine years prior to his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. For that reason Ward's signature is exceedingly rare in any form, especially on a baseball. The ball (6.75 inches in circumference) displays moderate wear, including abrasions to two side panels (not the signature panel). In Very Good condition overall. This is a particularly outstanding rarity that even some twenty years ago sold for many thousands of dollars. While as noted this is a mini ball, it displays beautifully, would be a highlight in any world-class single-signed Hall of Fame ball collection, and may well be the only single-signed John Ward baseball we will ever see. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $20,145.00

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