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George Sosnak "George Weiss" Hand-Painted (Single-Signed) Ball
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $600
Elaborate folk-art tribute ball, hand-painted by former minor-league umpire George Sosnak (1922-1992), commemorating the baseball career of Hall of Fame executive George Weiss. An illustration of Weiss' Hall of Fame plaque adorns one panel, while the opposite panel recounts Weiss' career in Sosnak's meticulous hand-lettering. When creating a ball dedicated to a specific individual, Sosnak customarily began with a ball autographed by that person. He then incorporated the autograph within his design, often enhancing it with his favorite medium: India ink. This ball is no exception, with the enhanced and outlined signature of George Weiss appearing alone on a side panel.
Note: While this ball will no doubt be primarily appreciated as a Sosnak hand-painted ball, rather than a single-signed ball, it is also a George Weiss single-signed ball. George Weiss single-signed balls are quite rare, in part because he was an executive as opposed to a player, and in part because he passed away in 1972, very shortly after being elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971 and long before the single-signed ball became the recognized ideal form desired by many collectors. Based on past sales, if the Weiss signature were not enhanced by Sosnak as part of his normal artistic process, this ball would be worth thousands just as a George Weiss single.
Sosnak was a prolific artist, by some accounts creating over 800 illustrated baseballs, and the popularity of his works has continued to grow with each passing decade. Those balls commemorating the careers of Hall of Fame players, such as this example, have always been particularly highly prized by collectors. Sosnak is nearly as well known in the folk-art community as he is in the field of baseball collectibles, so it is no surprise that examples of his work can be found in both the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City. One of Sosnak's balls (detailing JFK’s Opening Day pitch at a 1962 Senators game) can even be found in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library. The Spalding official "Texas League" ball displays only minor wear to the unadorned panels and is otherwise in Near Mint condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $600
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