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Jack Johnson Collection with TLS and Six Photos Including Large Advertising Display
Starting Bid - $500.00 , Sold For - $1,527.50
This collection of ideal-for-display material relating to the life of former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson is comprised of a signed letter and six photos. Jack Johnson was crowned the first African-American Heavyweight Champion in history when he defeated Tommy Burns in 1908. His dominance in the ring, combined with the color of his skin, his larger-than-life persona, and his lack of proper "respect" for the white establishment, created a chorus of cries for a "Great White Hope" to bring the championship back into the hands of a white boxer. For years, no such "Hope" was ever found and Johnson served as a lightning rod for the hatred of the white masses. Johnson eventually lost the title to Jess Willard in 1915, but because of his high lifestyle and outspoken manner, he remained in the public eye for years after his retirement. He eventually passed away in 1946 as a result of a car accident. 1) One-page typed letter, dated October 26, 1943, signed in black fountain pen (grading "9/10") by Jack Johnson. In the letter, typed on his personal letterhead (reading "Jack Johnson - Former Heavyweight Champion of the World") and written to "Max," Johnson apologizes for the delay in responding and offers Max an invitation to come over to his house to show Johnson his scrapbook. Written along the bottom of the letter, in pencil, is the notation "Notice - Radio just announced the death of Jack Johnson in an auto accident in North Carolina (radio news was about 9:10 p.m. P.S. Time - Hollywood Calif. 6-10-46." The letter (7.25 x 10.5 inches) is moderately toned and displays both vertical and horizontal folds. A strip of adhesive residue remains on the reverse as a result of the letter having been long ago removed from a scrapbook. The front of the letter, along the bottom left border, also has a number of adhesive residue marks where it appears that a small photo was once affixed, and then later removed. Very Good condition. 2) Stereoscope card of Jack Johnson. The caption reads "Jack Johnson, Champion of the World in His Chicago Home." Published by E. W. Kelley. Copyright 1910. 7 x 3.5 inches. Ex. 3) Vintage 1920 news photo picturing Johnson surrendering himself to the authorities. The attached wire caption on the reverse is dated 7/26/20 and reads "Jack Johnson (right) former heavyweight champion of the world who has been sought for some time on a charge of white slavery, entered the U.S. at Tia Juana Cal. and surrendered himself as a fugitive from justice to George R. Cooley, U.S. Marshall (left)." An Underwood & Underwood stamp appears on the reverse, as does the date stamp "Jul 29 1920." 6.25 x 8.5 inches. Possibly trimmed, otherwise Vg-Ex, with a moderate crease. 4) Non-vintage news photo picturing Johnson as he appeared in 1925 (as noted by a pencil caption on the reverse). A United Press International Photo stamp appears on the reverse, as does the date stamp "6 Sep 1968." 7 x 9 inches. Vg-Ex, with staple holes along the bottom border. 5) Non-vintage news photo picturing Johnson posing with boxer Stanley Kitchell in 1909. A United Press International Photo stamp appears on the reverse, as do two date stamps from 1968. 7 x 9 inches. Ex. 6) Small snapshot photo of Jack Johnson posing on field with Honus Wagner, circa early 1940s. 5 x 4 inches. Vg-Ex. 7) Large advertising display photograph (18.5 x 13.5 inches), circa 1915, picturing the historic image of Jess Willard standing over a fallen Jack Johnson in their April 5, 1915 title bout. This photo was probably produced a short time after the fight. It includes the added advertisement for "Bouvier - The Original Buchu Gin," prominently printed on the canvas, suggesting that this large photographic display is actually an advertising piece. The caption along the base reads in part: "Jack Johnson knocked out by Jess Willard. In apparent Ex-Mt condition. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 28 x 23 inches. Also included with the collection are a number of small non-vintage photos picturing Johnson both in and out of the ring. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Total: 7 items (letter and six photos). Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000+. SOLD FOR $1,527.50
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