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Lot # 959 (of 1560)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Ed Hanlon Signed Autograph Album Page

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $15,275

Album sheet, removed from the legendary autograph album compiled by Dr. John O'Meara in the 1930s, signed by Hall of Fame manager Ed Hanlon. (The original near-complete album is also offered in this auction; please see the lot description for full details.) Hanlon has flawlessly signed the sheet in black fountain pen (grading ‘10’) and also included the name of the town where he lived, ‘Baltimore Md.,’ below his signature. The signature of Ed Hanlon is one of the most elusive of all Hall of Fame signatures. Its extreme rarity is such that with only a few exceptions, even the most advanced autograph collections are without an example. The reason is primarily timing. As a nineteenth-century player and later manager, whose career spanned from 1880 to 1907, Hanlon was not active in the era in which signature collecting was popular. In addition, Hanlon passed away in 1937 but wasn't elected to the Hall of Fame until 1996; therefore, few collectors had any reason to obtain his signature while he was alive, or save it years after his death. Also, at the time of Hanlon's passing, few individuals, such as Dr. John O'Meara, had access to Hanlon and an interest in collecting baseball autographs. This combination of circumstances has resulted in the extreme rarity of Hanlon's signature today. Ed Hanlon was an average player but a superb student of the game and he parlayed that acumen into a highly successful managerial career. Hanlon captured three pennants and two World Championships with the famed Baltimore Orioles during the 1890s before leading Brooklyn to two consecutive pennants and a World Championship in 1899 and 1900. He retired from baseball in 1907. O'Meara was an astute baseball historian, lived in the same region of the country as Hanlon, and was well aware of Hanlon's accomplishments; thus it is no surprise that Hanlon's signature was included in his album. We know that O'Meara compiled his autograph album in the early to mid 1930s, which means that this Hanlon signature was obtained shortly before his passing in 1937. Hanlon was eighty years old at the time of his death; however, this signature provides no evidence of his advancing age. Each letter and stroke has been boldly penned and the signature as a whole is as fine an example as one could ever hope to obtain. Perfect in all respects. Aside from one other Hanlon signature example (which appeared on a hotel ledger sheet with dozens of other signatures, sold in the famous Barry Halper Collection auction in 1999), this is the only Ed Hanlon signature we have ever handled. The page (5.5 x 4.5 inches) has been neatly removed from the original album and is in Near Mint condition. Encapsulated by Beckett Grading Services in conjunction with James Spence Authentication. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $15,275

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