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Circa 1932 Herbert Hoover Single-Signed Ball
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $7,050
Presidential single-signed balls dating from the first half of the twentieth century are highly desirable and rare. This single-signed ball by Herbert Hoover, thirty-first President of the United States, is an extreme rarity. Dating from the throes of the Great Depression, this is the very first Hoover single-signed ball we have ever offered and only the second we have ever seen. (In 2006 a pristine Hoover single-signed ball, graded 7.5 by PSA/DNA, was sold at auction elsewhere for $63,653.) Hoover has signed the official American League (Harridge) ball in black fountain pen across the sweet spot. While the signature is well executed and grades "6/7," its overall appearance is affected by the alternating shades of toning resulting from the applied layer of vintage shellac. Ironically, the shellac was no doubt applied out of respect for its great significance and specifically to preserve its appearance. Over time, the shellac has yellowed. The ball itself, as noted, is an American League baseball. All of the manufacturer's stampings remain bold and distinct. Ideally, based upon those stampings, this ball can be dated precisely to the narrow two-year manufacturing period 1932-1933, indicating that it was most likely signed by Hoover during his single term in office (1929-1933). Hoover, who played shortstop during his youth, was a great fan of our national pastime and once remarked that "baseball is the greatest of American sports." The record shows that Hoover attended nine Major League games during his Presidency, including four consecutive season openers in Washington where he threw out the ceremonial first pitch and three World Series games (1929, 1930, and 1931). Unfortunately, since the term of his Presidency coincided with start of the Great Depression, Hoover was often booed at the ballpark during his visits. This is the earliest Presidential single-signed ball we have ever handled and we can only recall having seen a few other examples that predate it. For anyone attempting to assemble a complete run of signed Presidential baseballs, this is an extremely rare opportunity. The ball, as noted previously, has been coated with a layer of protective shellac (common during that time) that has darkened unevenly. A few tiny chips and/or abrasions are also evident upon the shellacked surface. Without regard to the shellac (which, as can easily be seen, affects appearance), the ball is in Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,050
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