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Lot # 843 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1930 Walter Johnson Board Game - Autographed!

Starting Bid - $400.00 , Sold For - $1,292.50

Addendum: Our printed catalog refers to the dating of this game as 1940, but we have now learned with certainty that this game was actually introduced in 1930. This information is based on 1930 references in articles and advertisements in The New York Times, Baseball Magazine, and The Washington Post. The dating of this game has always been a bit of a mystery to us. It appears that it was sold over a number of years, confusing the issue, but we do now know with certainty that it was introduced in 1930. We appreciate the help of the collectors of the Yahoo Baseball Game Board (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baseballgames/) for being so generous with their time and expertise. Thank you!

The colorful cover to this "Walter Johnson Base Ball Game" features an impressive pitching image of the legendary "Big Train." Collectors often assume this classic game was issued in the 1920s, because it has that early look to it, and Johnson's career as a pitcher lasted well into the 1920s; however, the game was actually introduced in 1930 and marketed until around 1940, long after his playing days, around the time he ran for U.S. Congress in Maryland. In wire photos from that time, we can clearly see that he is enjoying the attention the game is receiving, and he no doubt was particularly happy to sign game boxes for those who requested and had the opportunity, though over the past 37 years we have seen only a few examples. This is one of those few. It has been beautifully signed by Johnson in black fountain pen. Ideally, Johnson has carefully penned his name along the length of his pitching arm in order to provide the best area of contrast for the signature, which grades a strong "8." In addition to Johnson's image, his rousing endorsement appears in the lower right corner: "Next Best to the Real Game - Walter Johnson." Signed examples of this baseball board game are extremely rare and the only other one we've ever offered at auction was the example from the famed Barry Halper Collection. The game board (Ex) is included with the box, but the pieces are no longer present. The original price tag ($1.00) from the May Company in Cleveland, Ohio, remains affixed along the bottom. The box (10 x 14 x 2 inches) is in overall Very Good condition, with a few minor creases to the lid, as well as a tear along one of the corner seams. Despite its technical grade, the colors remain bright and vibrant, and the box as a whole displays as Excellent. Baseballs and checks and even cut signatures seem to get all the attention from collectors, but an exceptional signed display piece such as this is actually far rarer for Walter Johnson. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $400. Estimate $800+. SOLD FOR $1,292.50


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