1949 Jim Thorpe Signed Letter
Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $1,422.00
One-page typed letter, dated April 21, 1949, signed by Jim Thorpe. In his letter, on "Jim Thorpe's Thunderbirds All Girl Softball Club" letterhead, Thorpe writes to sports philanthropist Paul Helms of California. In full:
Dear Mr. Helms: Your letter with gift enclosed chech [sic], has been presented to me by our mutual friend, "Bill" Schroeder. Your thoughtful kindness and good wishes are both deeply appreciated. Nothing could give me more pleasure than working for and with, the youth of our country. To have a playground in Southern California, named for me would indeed be a great honor. You will find me ready to co-operate [sic] with you at all times in your good work. With all good personal wishes and for your foundation I am gratefully yours. Jim Thorpe [signed].
Thorpe's signature has been scripted in blue ink and grades "8." Jim Thorpe's Thunderbirds All Girl Softball Club was formed in 1949 and played in the National Softball Congress that toured the country. It was one of many such sports business ventures formed by Thorpe during his later years to capitalize on his name. Like most, it was short lived. Paul Helms ran a highly successful bakery in Los Angeles (Helms Bakery) and was an enthusiastic supporter of athletics (his uncle was William "Dummy" Hoy). In 1932 he helped establish the first Olympic Village and also supplied bread to all of the Olympic Athletes. In 1936 he, along with Bill Schroeder, founded the Helms Athletic Foundation. The foundation, among its many endeavors, formed panels that annually selected collegiate national champions in various sports. It also selected All-American teams and operated Halls of Fame for a number of different sports. Jim Thorpe Park is located in Hawthorne, California (just outside of Los Angeles), where Thorpe resided for a number of years. All Jim Thorpe letters are rare, especially those offering specific sports content, such as this example. The letter (7.75 x 9 inches) displays two horizontal mailing folds, a few light creases, a staple in the upper left corner, and light toning along the base. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Matted and framed together with a 1933 R338 Sport Kings Jim Thorpe card (G/VG; numerous light creases) to total dimensions of 14.5 x 20.5 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $1,422.00