August Live 2014
Absentee bidding for this session ends on 7/31/2014 at 6:00 PM CST.
Live bidding for this session begins on 8/1/2014 at 8:30 PM CST.
Among the Hall of Fame's 5 charter inductees, Mathewson is widely known to be the rarest autograph—primarily because he died the earliest, in 1925. Gehrig, Johnson and Ruth perished in the 1940s, Cobb in 1961. With the exception of Gehrig, Matty's life was the most tragic. His tailspin began during WWI service with the Army's Chemical Warfare Division when he was exposed to mustard gas. In 1920, the idol once dubbed "Big Six" was diagnosed with tuberculosis and began living in the "cure cottages" of the TB sanitorium at Saranac Lake, NY, where he eventually succumbed on October 7, 1925, at age 45.
As a result, all forms of Christy Mathewson's elusive autograph are highly sought-after by collectors. In our most recent May auction, for example, a mere cut signature topped $9,500, and a signed copy of Won in the Ninth reached just shy of $12,000. But checks...now those are arguably the most desirable Matty medium outside of single-signed baseballs (which sell for upwards of $100,000). Over the past 15 years, our firm's experienced executives have handled eight different Mathewson checks at an average of $14,000 apiece. All eight spanned the time period of 1922-24, with the latest example (dated 12/22/24 and accompanied by a poignant note from Mrs. Mathewson) peaking at more than $30,000.
Here, this fine offering hails from May 20, 1922 and is made out to "Cash" in the amount of $50.00. It measures 2-3/4" x 6-1/2" and rates EX/MT with a light center fold, routine bank stampings and hole punchings—none of which affect Mathewson's clean, black-fountain-pen "8" signature.
That late spring of '22 saw a glimmer of hope. Striving day in and day out to regain his health (largely through complete bedrest) miraculously brought Matty back to life and restored his vim and vigor. In fact, as author Philip Seib notes in a 2004 biography: "As [Mathewson's] condition improved, he went for longer drives in the country and found a new hobby: identifying wildflowers...He was an inveterate list maker, and he wrote out a list of sixty-one different flowers that he had spotted...He also kept a day-by-day record of the flowers he saw beginning in June 1922 and continuing into August." By late June of 1922, Mathewson even gained the strength to throw out the first pitch at a ball game between Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh—a perfect strike, of course. Full LOA from JSA.
1922 Christy Mathewson Signed Personal Check
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