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Extremely Rare 1952 Willie Mays and Monte Irvin Chesterfield Die-Cut Advertising Display Sign
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,555
Rare die-cut advertising sign featuring Willie Mays and Monte Irvin in promotion of Chesterfield-brand cigarettes. The sign features both New York Giants players in street clothes, with Mays holding a box of Chesterfields in his hand and Irvin smoking a cigarette. The text above and below reads, respectively, "Smoke Our Brand," and "Chesterfield/They're Really Good to You." Although the piece is undated, it can be conclusively pinpointed to 1952 based upon the printed identification of each player. Irvin is noted as the "National League Runs Batted In Champion" and Mays as the "National League 'Rookie of the Year'" (Mays was the 1951 Rookie of the Year in the National League and Irvin the leader in RBI that season). This is one of only a very few examples of this sign we have ever seen or heard of and the very first we have ever offered in our 40+ years. It's rarity almost certainly lies in the fact that it features two African American players. During the early 1950s, ad campaigns with African American celebrities were the exception rather than the rule. This piece was almost certainly distributed regionally in the New York area, specifically in African-American neighborhoods. As such, far fewer were produced, and subsequently saved. As is common for such pieces, the cardboard sign displays wear commensurate with its age and former use. The piece is missing its original easel back. Staple holes are evident along both the top and bottom borders. There is a repaired vertical tear that extends through Irvin's image and a few minor areas of inpainting are also evident. Despite the minor condition flaws, the colors remain bright and bold, and the piece retains an overall Excellent appearance. This is an outstanding baseball display piece, one of the great rarities of all Chesterfield in-store advertising displays, and one of the earliest Willie Mays advertising signs extant. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,555
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