Christy Mathewson Signed Ball
Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $8,887.50
Bon-Tober "College League" ball signed by Hall of Fame pitcher Christy Mathewson. Mathewson has scripted his name in black fountain pen across the sweet spot, with the signature grading "6." It must be noted that when this ball was examined by James Spence Authentication utilizing a video spectral comparator, which allows for the observation of latent writing and/or markings that are not visible to the naked eye, the examination revealed evidence of a few slight enhancements to Mathewson's signature and that there also appear to be remnants of ink from a possible signature removal above the Bon-Tober logo. It is not certain that a signature has been worn away or removed, but it is because of this observation that the ball is described simply as a Christy Mathewson signed ball (as opposed to a Christy Mathewson single-signed ball). The enhancements to the Mathewson signature are extremely minor (and cannot even be detected with the naked eye). Such enhancements were common back in the earlier days of collecting and were not done maliciously to deceive anyone. It was done strictly to preserve a signature that was fading. We have seen countless examples of signature-enhanced balls over the years, both multi-signed and single signed, the vast majority of which date prior to 1950 (as one would expect).
Mathewson, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Walter Johnson, was one of the first five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame; however, of that group, his signature is the most difficult to obtain alone on a baseball. The reasons for that are twofold: 1) Mathewson passed away prematurely in 1925 at the age of forty-five and 2) that was long before single-signed balls became the ideal for autograph collectors. As such, Mathewson singles have always commanded a premium price at auction. The offered ball, with its minor anomalies, represents an outstanding opportunity to acquire what is essentially a Mathewson single-signed ball, but at a discount to what a higher-grade example would sell for. The ball is moderately toned, with a few minor abrasions (not affecting the signature panel), and the manufacturer's labels remain clearly legible. In Very Good condition overall. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,887.50