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1928 Exhibit Card Signed on the Reverse by Oscar Charleston, Judy Johnson, and Eight Other Players
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $12,000
1928 Fred Lindstrom exhibit card, signed on the reverse by six Negro League players, including Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston and Judy Johnson, as well as four major league players. Of the ten signatures featured here, the most significant to collectors is that of Oscar Charleston because of its extreme rarity. Charleston died in 1954 but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1976. As a result, few Oscar Charleston signature examples are known today. This is just the second REA has ever offered and we cannot recall having seen more than seven other examples at auction during the past twenty years. Charleston's signature, which is the top signature on the back of the card, has been scripted in blue fountain pen and grades "9." The nine other signatures, which appear singly in a row below Charleston's, have all been signed in blue fountain pen as well and average "9."
Charleston, who is considered one of the greatest all-around players in baseball history, was a member of the legendary Homestead Grays in 1930, as were all of the other Negro League players represented here. (Thus, based on the names present, presumably 1930 was the year of signing.) The remaining nine signatures on this card are those of "Geo Scales" (a top Negro League infielder), "Judy Johnson" (Negro League Hall of Famer), "D. Cooper" (Daltie Cooper, Negro League pitcher), "C. Williams" (Charles "Lefty" Williams, Negro League pitcher), "Mo Harris (Raymond "Mo" Harris, Negro League infielder with the Homestead Grays from 1923 to1929 and then a Negro League umpire from 1930 to 1943), "W. Clark" (Watty Clark, pitcher for the Brooklyn Robins in 1930), "Johnny Frederick" (outfielder with the Brooklyn Robins in 1930), "Stuart Clarke" (infielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1930), and "Hal Lee" (outfielder with the Brooklyn Robins in 1930). While we cannot be certain, it seems reasonable to assume that these signatures were obtained at an exhibition game between the Homestead Grays and a team made up of various major league players (possibly the Brooklyn Bushwicks, who often recruited major league players to fill out its roster). Regardless of the precise circumstances of its signing (about which we can only speculate, armed with the many clues we have), the fact that it features the signature of Oscar Charleston makes it one of the most desirable items imaginable for advanced Negro League or Hall of Fame autograph collectors. The card (3.25 x 5.25 inches) displays heavy wear, including a tack hole at the top, moderate creasing, and a few edge tears. In Good condition overall, but none of the flaws significantly impact any of the signatures. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $12,000
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