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1933-1934 Homestead Grays Real-Photo Postcard: Tex Burnett (Signed)
Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,400
Rare real-photo Negro League postcard of Homestead Grays catcher Fred "Tex" Burnett posing in uniform. Burnett has inscribed the postcard on the reverse in black fountain pen (grading "9"), "To my pal Jo/from a pal Tex/Burnett." Although no year or photographer's credit is listed, the postcard can be definitively dated to either 1933 or 1934, which are the only two seasons that Burnett played with the Homestead Grays. He joined the club near the end of the 1933 season and in 1934 became the Grays' starting catcher. In 1935, he left the Grays to rejoin the Brooklyn Royal Giants, a team he had played for intermittently during the 1920s and early 1930s. The "Jo" referred to in Burnett's salutation is almost certainly Joseph Herman (Sleepy) Lewis, who was a star catcher in the Negro Leagues from 1919 to 1936 with many teams, including the Baltimore Black Sox, Washington Potomacs, Hilldale, and the Lincoln Giants. This is one of a few early 1930s Homestead Grays signed real-photo postcards we have seen, most of which have also been inscribed either to "Jo" or to "Lewis." Vintage Negro League real-photo postcards and signed photos are exceedingly rare and this example is no exception. It is not known if this card is part of a set, but it is fascinating to us that apparently long ago this card was once together with the 1931 Harrison Studios card of Ambrose Reid (Lot 428 in Robert Edward Auctions' May 2012 sale), as well as the famous twice-signed 1931 Harrison Studios postcard of Josh Gibson that sold at REA for $81,200 in May 2006. All three cards are signed to star Negro League catcher Joseph Herman (Sleepy) Lewis. The postcard (3.5 x 5.5 inches) displays two small tack holes (one at the top and one at the bottom) and is otherwise in Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $2,400
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