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1964 Martin Luther King Jr. Signed Time Magazine Cover with Extraordinary Provenance! PSA/DNA
Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $4,800
Front cover of the January 3, 1964, issue of Time magazine, signed by Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968), American civil rights leader. Signed examples of this issue, which recognizes King as Time's "Man of the Year," are extremely rare. This is the first example we have ever handled and we are aware of only a few others that have ever appeared at auction during the past thirty years. Of these few, this extraordinary example may be the finest, both with regard to the signature quality and its remarkable provenance. King has personally inscribed the piece to his good friend Chuck Stone, a former Tuskeegee Airman and noted journalist, and it is accompanied by a one-page signed letter from Stone's wife detailing its history. King's lengthy inscription, which is flawlessly inscribed in blue ink (grading "10"), appears in the upper left corner of the cover and reads "To my Friend/Chuck Stone/With Best Wishes/and Warm Personal Regards/Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Stone, like King, was a civil rights activist, but the two men shared differing philosophies on how the problems of racial equality should be solved, one of which is specifically addressed in the letter provided by Stone's wife, dated March 9, 2010. In part:
Chuck called Martin and said "you are on the cover of Time Magazine." "Please autograph the cover." MLK said, "well, if I am the cover, maybe you will come work for me." Background: MLK had previously asked Chuck to work for him but Chuck declined because Chuck did not feel that he is non-violent. End of the story, Chuck mailed the cover to him and he autographed it and returned it to Chuck. Chuck nor I wanted to live in the South. Chuck, being a Tuskeegee airman trained in the South and I grew up in the South.
Chuck Stone graduated from Wesleyan University in 1948 and subsequently received a master's degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. In 1967 King had asked Stone to become the executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, but Stone declined the offer. Stone is best known today for his highly respected journalism career at the Philadelphia Daily News (1972-1991). He was also the first president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, Stone was later inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame in 2004. He passed away in 2014.
The magazine cover (8.25 x 11 inches) has been affixed, by means of tape on the front, to a paper backing, which in turn is adhered to a black matting. The cover displays a few small edge tears, minor abrasions in the upper left corner (not affecting the text or signature) and minor creases. In Very Good condition. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 14.5 x 17.5 inches. This is an extraordinary signed Martin Luther King Jr. piece in all respects: significant, ideal for display, and with a rare impeccable provenance. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000+. SOLD FOR $4,800
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