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Lot # 495 (of 1525)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1957 Ty Cobb Autograph Four-Page Letter

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,392.00

Fascinating four-page handwritten letter (7.25 x 10.25 inches) by Ty Cobb on his personal letterhead, addressed to a "Mr. Ken Johnson" of Carson City, Nevada, dated "7/3/57." The four-page letter is written in blue ballpoint on a total of three sheets of paper, with pages two and three occupying both sides of one sheet. Cobb was 71 years old when he wrote this letter, the purpose of which was to request the assistance of Ken Johnson in defining Cobb's formal place of residence during the several years leading to 1957. Having several residences apparently opened the door for more than one state to claim Cobb as a resident, and tax him accordingly, even though as a United States citizen he could only be an official resident of one state at a time. After retirement, Cobb traveled extensively as he continued to be a visible figure in baseball, and he often returned to his native Georgia to tend business matters. The text goes on to cite many of his travels and his places of residences dating back to 1939. Ultimately, Cobb's purpose in this letter was to request Johnson's support in identifying Cobb's real residence, thus averting a heavy tax obligation to California. The wonder of this letter, perhaps, is its subtle disclosure of the Ty Cobb not found in baseball chronicles. His tone is very reasonable and gentle, and very much contradicts his legend as difficult and angry, especially when being treated unfairly. "I have to find some supporting evidence and it has been unfair of these people to cause me to have to defend myself..." Instead of the confrontational competitor and bully, in this letter he projects an image of a different creature altogether. Despite a challenge from California's autocratic revenuers, in this letter Cobb respectfully recognizes and carefully addresses responsibilities that many would find infuriating, and expresses no anger or bitterness, only a resolve to address the issue properly. Cobb must have been very friendly with Ken Johnson, as suggested by the many personal references in the four pages and the fact that it is signed simply "Ty" ("10"). The letter has normal mailing fold lines. It is in Near Mint condition. The signature and all writing is essentially flawless ("10"). The letter is accompanied by its original mailing envelope (Vg-Ex), addressed in Cobb's hand and postmarked "July 3, 1957 Menlo Park, Calif." LOAs from Mike Gutierrez/GAI and James Spence & Steve Grad/PSA DNA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$2,000. SOLD FOR $1,392.00


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