Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

1911 Indians And Giants Photo Book

The only known "Shoeless Joe" Jackson signed photograph has been discovered in a photo book compiled by Cleveland newspaper photographer Frank W. Smith in 1911. Also included in the newly discovered trove of photographs are prints autographed by baseball legends Napoleon Lajoie, Christy Mathewson and John McGraw.

"This previously unknown autograph collection stands out for its significance, rarity and remarkable state of preservation," says Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage. "The Frank W. Smith Collection is one of the most exciting 'time capsules' of the early 20th century game ever to surface in the collecting hobby."

As a photographer for The Cleveland Plain Dealer , Smith snapped most of the Cleveland Indians at the team's 1911 spring training grounds in Alexandria, La. The trove of never-before-seen original photos would represent a significant find on their own, however, the fact that Smith took the time to ask each player to sign and date their photos makes this collection truly special, Ivy says.

Among the 60 photographs in the photo book are Lajoie, after whom the team was nicknamed (the Cleveland Naps), and Jackson, whose path to Hall of Fame immortality, of course, was derailed by the scandal of the 1919 World Series fix.

Jackson autographed his photo just weeks before beginning his first season as a member of the Indians squad. A functional illiterate often teased for his lack of a formal education, "Shoeless Joe" typically signed only when absolutely necessary, with legal documents supplying most of the few known exemplars. His autograph is among the scarcest and most valuable in the baseball collecting hobby.

"The balance of the signed photography focuses on the 1911 National League Champions, the mighty New York Giants," Ivy says. "Counted among those 15 subjects are two of the earliest inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame, legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson and esteemed manager John McGraw."

The photo book and its photographs are expected to realize at least $170,000.

Event
Sports Collectibles Platinum Night Auction #7130 is scheduled for Feb. 21-22, 2015, in New York and online at HA.com/7130. For information, contact Chris Ivy at 214-409-1319 or CIvy@.

1911 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson Signed Oversized Original Type 1 Photograph
1911 "Shoeless" Joe Jackson Signed Oversized Original Type 1 Photograph
Estimate: $100,000+


1911 Christy Mathewson Signed Original Type 1 Photograph
1911 Christy Mathewson Signed Original Type 1 Photograph
Estimate: $40,000+