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Moe Berg Memorabilia Collection Including Handwritten Letter
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $5,400
This collection of material relating to Moe Berg is comprised of a handwritten letter, a passport, a signed "Personal History Statement" (government application), handwritten notes for a speech in 1963, and an unsigned 1929 Chicago White Sox contract.
Moe Berg was one of the most interesting figures in the history of baseball. A journeyman Major League catcher, Berg played a total of fifteen seasons between the years 1923 and 1939, but it is not his baseball career that has intrigued present-day historians. Unbeknownst to all at the time, Berg was also working as a spy for the U.S. Government and was later recruited by the OSS, the forerunner to today's CIA. After his playing career, Berg traveled throughout Europe gathering information on Germany's nuclear capabilities. Following World War II he worked for the CIA in an attempt to obtain Soviet atomic information. Always mysterious in his actions, the last years of his life were spent as a nomad. He held no known job and lived first with his brother Sam, and then later with his sister Ethel, until his death in 1972.
1) Four-page handwritten letter (on both sides of two sheets), dated July 15, 1942, signed "Moe." In his letter, on "Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs" stationery, Berg writes to his brother Sam, bringing him up to date on his recent activities. Both the text (written in both blue and black fountain pen) and signature are boldly scripted and grade "9/10." 8 x 10.5. Ex-Mt, with normal mailing folds.
2) Swiss passport issued to Moe Berg in 1952. The passport, which lists his residence as "Zurich," features a photo of Berg, his blue-ink signature (grading "9") and three date stamps: Aug. 31, 1952, Sept. 1, 1952, and Sep. 15, 1952. A number of pages have been torn from the book during his travels. Berg was living abroad at the time while working for the CIA. His assignment was to gather information regarding the Soviet Union's atomic capabilities. He returned home in 1954, at which time the CIA chose not to renew his contract. He never again worked for the government. The passport (3.5 x 4.75 inches) remains in Excellent condition.
3) Fourteen-page government questionnaire, titled "Personal History Statement," filled out and signed by Berg in blue ink ("8").
4) Handwritten notes that appear to have been made in preparation for a speech. The notes are written on the reverse of a May 18, 1963, issue of the Princeton University Weekly Bulletin. At the top, Berg has written "Notes for Mets." He mentions a number of players in his notes, including Mets manager Casey Stengel, Babe Ruth, John McGraw, and Hughie Jennings. The paper (11 x 19 inches, unfolded) displays normal mailing folds and is in Very Good condition.
5) 1929 Moe Berg Chicago White Sox contract. The fold-over contract, dated December 15, 1928, calls for Berg to receive $7,500 for the 1929 season. It features a stamped facsimile signature of Charles Comiskey, but has not been signed by Berg. 8.5 x 11 inches. In Very Good condition, with tears along the fold lines.
Total: 5 items (three signed by Berg). Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $500+. SOLD FOR $5,400
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