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Lot # 3 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1919-1922 "Shoeless Joe" Jackson "Black Betsy" Pro-Model Bat - PSA/DNA GU 8 and MEARS A10

Starting Bid - $50,000, Sold For - $65,175

For a complete description of the 1919-1922 “Shoeless Joe” Jackson “Black Betsy” Pro-Model Bat –PSA/DNA GU8 and MEARS A10 please go to:

Great Additional Information Regarding Lot #3: 1919-1922 "Shoeless Joe" Jackson "Black Betsy" Bat relating to its past sale and offering history, and additional information from PSA/DNA Bat Authenticator John Taube, can be found at this special link:

The following is an edited (shortened) version:

Addendum: While MEARS has authenticated and graded this bat as a "Game used Black Betsy model bat attributed to have been used by Joe Jackson" and PSA DNA has authenticated and graded the bat as a "Black Betsy professional model bat that is "authentic and was game used by Jackson during the referenced labeling", REA does not believe there is any way to prove with 100% certainty (as is the case with virtually all vintage bats attributed to use by any player) actual game use by Joe Jackson.

Presented is perhaps the single greatest bat we have ever had the privilege of offering: Joe Jackson's “Black Betsy.” The rarity of an authentic Joe Jackson bat cannot be overstated. According to both John Taube of PSA/DNA and Troy Kinunen of MEARS, this is one of only six Joe Jackson game-used bats in private hands known to exist. Of these six, three date from 1910 to 1916 and three (including this example) date from 1917 to 1921. Of the three dating from 1917 to 1921, only two are “Black Betsy” models. All of these Jackson bats are worthy of Hall of Fame display, but the 1917 to 1921 models naturally hold a special distinction. This very bat could have been used by Joe Jackson during the 1919 World Series! While the exact year (or years) of use cannot be known with certainty (this is rarely possible; the extraordinary side-written Joe Jackson rookie bat that recently sold at auction for $956,000 was a unique exception), we do know from photographs that this very style bat was used by Jackson in 1919, so it is a distinct possibility. At the very least, this is one of only four game-used Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bats currently known in the entire collecting world. It is the highest graded of all 1917-1921 Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bats, the only example of its type we have ever had the privilege of offering (over the past forty years), and in virtually all ways it is the equivalent (in some ways superior, with reference to condition and dating) to the iconic side-written Joe Jackson rookie bat that is universally recognized as one of, if not the most, important and significant Joe Jackson game-used item in existence. The fact that this is a Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bat - the model Jackson is known for and that is visually so distinctive with its two-tone finish - and the fact that this bat dates from circa 1919 - define this bat as worthy of museum display. Joe Jackson will always be associated with his famous blank-barrel “Black Betsy” model bat. This is the ultimate example of Joe Jackson's weapon of choice dating precisely to the “Black Sox” era.

Joe Jackson H&B “Black Betsy;” pro-model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1919-1922 manufacturing period. Graded GU 8 by PSA/DNA and A10 by MEARS. “Black Betsy,” the nickname given by Joe Jackson to the two-toned bat he favored for most of his career, is so central to the legend of “Shoeless Joe” that even casual fans are familiar with the term. Few collectors, however, are familiar with the actual bat outside of photos, as only a small number have survived. Offered is one of the finest of those few surviving examples.

Because most of Jackson's “Black Betsy” bats did not feature his name on the barrel (period photos of Jackson holding his “Black Betsy” bats support that assertion), the attribution of any blank barrel “Black Betsy” bat to Joe Jackson is determined by a comparison of it to other pro-model examples known to have been used by him during his career. By that method, the offered bat is VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL to what is generally regarded as the finest Joe Jackson bat in the hobby: a 1911 side-written and vault-marked example graded GU 9.5 by PSA/DNA that recently sold at auction for $956,000 (Note: The side-written Joe Jackson rookie bat was also a blank barrel bat, with the stamped block lettering name identification added at the factory when it was returned to H&B for filing purposes).

In his LOA, John Taube of PSA/DNA specifically compares that previously examined GU 9.5 example, as well as two other Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” pro-model bats in the company's database, to the offered bat. MEARS also notes that the offered bat conforms in every way to those known to have been used by Joe Jackson.

One other important aspect that both PSA/DNA and MEARS emphasize is that aside from Jackson, few other major league players used a “Black Betsy” bat, and of those who did, their bat specifications were noticeably different from Jackson's. According to PSA/DNA, “The 'Black Betsy' finish, though not unique to Jackson, was very rare on professional players' bats. Two players that come to mind are Hank Gowdy and Chick Gandil. Both of those players did not use the J13 model and both players had endorsement contracts with Hillerich & Bradsby, indicating bats produced for them bearing their branded facsimile signature on the barrel. Therefore, it is our opinion; this bat was manufactured for Joe Jackson.”

MEARS further adds that “This is a 100% verifiable game used Black Betsy bat. The Black Betsy was the most famous bat in baseball history and attributed almost exclusively to Shoeless Joe Jackson.”

Both companies are in total agreement that this is an outstanding Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bat in all respects. MEARS' final comment simply reads ”This is one of the finest Black Betsy Bats in existence.” PSA/DNA's conclusion reads ”After a thorough examination of this vintage Black Betsy professional model bat, and its player use characteristics; it is our opinion the bat is authentic and was game used by Jackson during the referenced labeling. The bat exhibits moderate use and possesses identifiable player use characteristics.” Both LOAs can be viewed in their entirety on our website.

Length: 35.5 inches. Weight: 40.1 ounces. Graded A10 by MEARS (5 point base grade, plus 3 points for use and 2 points for its specific player model and use traits). Graded GU 8 by PSA/DNA. LOAs from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA and Troy Kinunen/MEARS. Also accompanied by an LOA from SCD Authentic (grade A10), signed by Dave Bushing and Troy Kinunen. Reserve $50,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $65,175

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