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Two Hall of Fame Topps Contracts: 1963 Carlton and 1970 Gossage - First Baseball-Card Contracts - Signed as Teenagers!
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $480
Starting in the 1950s, baseball bubble-gum cards became big business, with Topps Chewing Gum, Inc., eventually emerging as the leader in the field. To cement its monopoly on the business, Topps routinely signed every minor-league player to a standard contract that allowed the company to use the player's name, likeness, biographical information, etc., on its bubble-gum cards for a five-year period, the terms of which would then be extended as need be. Offered here are the first Topps contracts issued to, and signed by, Steve Carlton and Rich "Goose" Gossage. Both of these contract predate each player's major league career; therefore, the signatures featured here might be very well be the earliest known examples for the two Hall of Fame pitchers. Since each player was under the age of twenty-one at the time (both were nineteen years old), Topps needed to obtain the signed consent of a parent or guardian for them to be legally binding, which it did in both cases. 1) Steve Carlton. One-page agreement, dated 11/20/63, signed in blue ink by "Steven N. Carlton" (grading "9") and in black ink by legendary Topps executive "Sy Berger (grading "10"). The consent signature of Carlton's parent ("J. T. Carlton") appears on the reverse. The contract calls for Carlton to receive $5.00 upon signing and then $125 per year for the first five seasons in which he is in the major leagues, with options for extending the agreement. 8.5 x 14 inches. Vg, with horizontal folds, staple holes, and minor edge tears. 2) Rich Gossage. Two-page agreement (one both sides of a single sheet), dated 7/4/70, signed in green ink by "Richard M. Gossage ("10") and by a Topps executive. Also includes the consent signature of "Mrs. Susan Goosage" (dated "1/18/71"). The contract calls for Gossage to receive $5.00 upon signing and then $250 per year for the first five seasons in which he is in the major leagues, with options for extending the agreement. The agreement also includes royalty payments as defined in section 3b. 8.5 x 14 inches. Vg, with horizontal folds, staple holes, and minor edge tears. Total: 2 contracts. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.
Reserve $200. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $480
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