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1906 Cap Anson Handwritten Letter
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,300
Three-page handwritten letter, dated April 2, 1906, signed by Hall of Fame first baseman Adrian "Cap" Anson. This Anson letter is one of a very few that originated many years ago directly from the Anson family. This letter was purchased from the Anson collection immediately following its sale (approximately twenty-five years ago) and had not seen the light of day until it appeared as Lot 1024 in REA's May 2011 auction (realized $2,644). It has been consigned directly by the original purchaser. Anson was City Clerk of Chicago when he wrote this letter. In his missive, written on two separate sheets of official "City Clerks Office/Adrian C. Anson/City Clerk" stationery (two pages of the three-page letter are written on the front and back of the first sheet), Anson writes to his daughter Adele and her husband, Carroll, regarding procurement of a loan to purchase property. In part:
My dear Carroll & Adele, I have no doubt but you think it strange that I have not been able to advise you what to do in regard to going to Marshalltown. I have been waiting on Mr. Eckles to know if he would make the loan of course. I have been to Louisville for over a week and Mr. Eckles was out of the city when I returned. He got back this morning and asked me to come in Wednesday. And as a natural must I will not know what he will do until then. I do not know how it is that it should take him so long to make up his mind. I hardly know what we will do if he refuses. I think the Andrews' people would make the loan if we paid six per cent and 1 +1/2 per cent commission. It might be rather than lose the property and housing that it would pay us to do so. I should like to know what is your opinion of this. If you could make some arrangement to hold the house in Marshalltown even if you had to pay me months rent. I do not know if you could do this...I had a letter from Estella the other day and she said there were going to be a great demand for brick and there was so many things that she could do if she knew what we were going to do. I wish I knew myself. I have an idea that everything would be easy if we were on the ground and had money...Your loving father. A. C. Anson.
Both the text and Anson's signature have been scripted in black fountain pen. There are a few tiny areas of bleeding to Anson's signature; it otherwise grades a flawless "10." The text of the letter is also virtually flawless, grading "9" on average. Anson, one of the game's greatest players, retired from Major League baseball in 1898; however, his post-playing career was marked by both bad business decisions and, in turn, financial troubles. His popularity in Chicago led to his successful election as City Clerk in 1905, but he was criticized for his ineffectiveness and only served one term. The city of Marshalltown referred to in the letter is Marshalltown, Iowa, the town his father Henry founded in 1850 and where Anson was raised. Carroll and Adele moved to Marshalltown after the death of Cap's dad in 1905 to take over his dad's brick business (which is also referred to in the letter) and help manage the estate. At the time of this letter Anson was already witnessing a reversal of fortune that soon resulted in his declaring bankruptcy and losing his home just two years later. Penniless, and forced to live with his children, his final years were spent on the vaudeville circuit, where he performed a stage act with his daughters Adele and Cherry in an effort to make ends meet. When he passed away in 1922 at the age of seventy, the National League pitched in and paid for his funeral. Each sheet (8.25 x 10.5 inches) displays normal mailing fold lines. In extraordinary Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,000+. SOLD FOR $3,300
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