March 28, 2011
1948-1949 Caramelos El Indio #13 Monte Irvin, signed on the front in black ink (grading "8") by Monte Irvin. Encapsulated by PSA/DNA, with the signature certified as "Authentic." Monte Irvin's 1948-1949 Caramelos El Indio card is his true rookie card and predates by two years his appearance in the 1951 Topps Red Back and 1951 Bowman issues! This is not only the first signed example of this card we have ever seen, but it is just the second example of the card itself that we have ever offered. The El Indio Caramel set, issued in 1948-1949, is one of the rarest of all Cuban card issues. Featuring players from the Cuban Winter League, this set is of great significance as it is one of the very few sets of the era to include Negro League stars. The photographs used in the El Indio set are unique to this issue. El Indio cards feature striking black-and-white portraits with player identification and advertising on reverse. Most cards are found with back damage due to having been mounted in an album that was issued to store and display the cards. The offered card is no exception and grades Poor to Fair based upon flaws to the reverse, but it presents at a higher level than that suggested by its technically accurate grade. This is a very significant Hall of Fame rookie card and quite possibly the only signed example. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA.