Heritage Auctions to sell only known signed “Shoeless” Joe Jackson baseball photo



By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

The only known baseball photograph signed by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson will hit the auction block later this month via Heritage Auctions.

The image was taken by Frank W. Smith, a photographer for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, when Jackson was a member of the Cleveland Naps between 1910-15. The photograph was discovered in a photo album compiled by Smith in 1911. The album is estimated to sell for more than $170,000.

“This previously unknown autograph collection stands out for its significance, rarity and remarkable state of preservation,” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Heritage, in a prepared release. “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.”

The book also includes signed photos from more than 50 players, including Jackson’s teammate Nap Lajoie as well as 1911 NL champions John McGraw and Christy Mathewson of the New York Giants.

The auction is scheduled to take place on Feb. 21-22 in New York City, while online bidding currently sits at $55,000 after 10 bids.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at colds@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. phillies_joe 11 February, 2015 at 11:42

    For somebody that supposidly didn’t know how to write…that’s a real nice autograph from 1911. I’d pass even if I had the money. No way that’s Joe Jackson’s signature.

  2. mgruber2 18 February, 2015 at 16:43

    I had heard that he could only write his name because his wife showed him how to do it. He didn’t know how to write the actual letters, he simply “memorized” how to write his signature. So what is up with the other writing which appears to be in the same handwriting? I agree with phillies_joe that this is not Jackson’s autograph.

  3. Arturo 26 February, 2015 at 22:23

    May you tell us your credentials in graphology to make such bold accusations? Are you familiar with other documents signed by Mr. Jackson and care to elaborate?

    That’s what I thought…

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