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Lot # 941 (of 1336)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extremely Rare 1933 Ed Hanlon Typed-Signed Letter - PSA/DNA

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $10,800

One-page typed letter, dated March 3, 1933, signed by Hall of Fame player/manager Ed Hanlon. Any and all signature examples of Ed Hanlon are exceedingly rare, let alone a signed letter. This is only the second Ed Hanlon letter we have seen and its provenance is equally significant and ideal: This letter was written to, and originates from, Dr. John O'Meara, who was an early hobby pioneer in the field of autograph collecting. A resident of Providence, Rhode Island, O'Meara was not simply a fan, but an astute historian of the game and his legendary collection included a vast array of correspondence from ballplayers past and present, including George Wright, Connie Mack, Babe Ruth, and Ty Cobb. O'Meara's knowledge and passion for the game endeared him to many of the older players, most of whom regarded him as a friend rather than an autograph seeker. Ed Hanlon was one "old timer" who obviously enjoyed hearing from O'Meara, as evidenced by this splendid letter. In his missive, written upon Baltimore "Department of Public Parks and Squares" stationery (Hanlon is identified as president of the department in the printed list of officers located in the upper left corner), Hanlon offers O'Meara thanks for his previous letter and for sending him some old baseball photographs. In full:

My Dear Dr. O'Meara: To acknowledge the receipt of you letter and the photographs. I appreciate your kindness in sending a print to me, and will write you more fully in a day or so. The signed picture will be returned to you as you request. Sincerely, Edward Hanlon [signed].

Hanlon's signature has been scripted in black fountain pen and grades "9/10." The letter (8.5 x 11 inches) displays two vertical and four horizontal mailing folds, as well as a few light surface wrinkles. In Excellent condition overall. Given the special provenance of this piece, plus the fact that it is a full letter, and features a near-flawless signature example, it ranks as one of the finest Ed Hanlon signed items in the collecting world. The only other Ed Hanlon signature examples Robert Edward Auctions has ever offered, not coincidentally, also originated from the O'Meara collection. The first was on an autograph-album page that was separated from the balance of O'Meara's famous autograph album (which was also offered in the same auction). It appeared as Lot 959 in our May 2009 auction, where it realized a final sale price of $15,275. The other example, which was also a typed-signed letter to O'Meara (dated a few weeks prior to the offered letter), appeared as Lot 1006 in our May 2010 auction and sold for $7,638.

The scarcity of Hanlon's signature cannot be overstated. Hanlon is one of the key rarities in all of Hall of Fame autograph collecting. Almost all of the most advanced baseball autograph collections are without an example. The reason for its great rarity is primarily timing. As a nineteenth-century player and later manager, whose career spanned the years 1880 to 1907, Hanlon was not active in the era in which signature collecting was popular. In addition, Hanlon passed away in 1937 but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1996; therefore, few collectors had any reason to obtain his signature while he was alive, or save it years after his death. Also, during Hanlon's lifetime, few individuals, such as Dr. John O'Meara, had both access to Hanlon and an interest in collecting baseball autographs. This combination of circumstances has resulted in the extreme rarity of Hanlon's signature today. Hanlon was a very steady but somewhat average player. He was, however, a superb student of the game as a player, and he parlayed that acumen into a highly successful managerial career, which is responsible for his election to the Hall of Fame. Hanlon captured three pennants and two World Championships with the famed Baltimore Orioles during the 1890s before leading Brooklyn to two consecutive pennants and a World Championship in 1899 and 1900. He retired from baseball in 1907. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and full LOA from James Spence/JSA.  Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $10,800


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