Circa 1913 D & M Sporting Goods Advertising Sign Collection with Joe Jackson and Walter Johnson (5)

Sold For: $8,813

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1455

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Collection of five extraordinary never-before-seen baseball large die-cut standup cardboard advertising displays issued by the Draper and Maynard Sporting Goods Company, circa 1913, each picturing one of the top stars of the era: Joe Jackson, Walter Johnson, Heinie Zimmerman, "Big Ed" Konetchy, and Bob Bescher. This remarkable collection was obtained during the early 1970s by an advanced baseball-card collector on a "buying trip" (as they were known in those long-forgotten days) in the New England area. When these signs were brought into the hotel room in response to local ads placed for old baseball cards, even though they were not exactly cards, and they were in rough condition, they were too interesting to pass up. They have remained unseen in a private collection for over thirty years until this time. We have never before seen or heard of this fascinating store advertising display series. While the die-cut store advertising displays are not dated, given the fact that Bescher, Zimmerman, and Konetchy enjoyed "career" years in 1912, it stands to reason that they were issued shortly thereafter, most likely in 1913, when each player's "star" appeal was at its greatest. Joe Jackson and Walter Johnson, of course, were both in the prime of their careers in 1913 with each regarded as one of the best players at his respective position. The fact that the legendary "Shoeless Joe" Jackson" is included here makes this one of the greatest advertising finds in hobby history. Individual Joe Jackson advertising pieces are exceedingly rare, almost to the point of being nonexistent, and the display offered here (despite its extremely flawed condition) is the most substantial example we have ever seen. Unfortunately, it is the poorest of the five in terms of condition. Although the top half of the piece (10.5 x 16 inches) is relatively free of any significant defects, the base is heavily worn, including significant abrasions and tears that have obscured nearly all of the D&M company name. The original easel back remains firmly attached. The Joe Jackson advertising display is a prime candidate for professional restoration. We can only imagine what this piece would look like if properly restored. The remaining four displays all have various, but far less severe condition problems as well and grade as follows: Johnson (Good; with tears and crease, easel back intact; 9 x 17.5 inches); Zimmerman (Good; with tears and creases, missing its easel back; 15 x 11.5 inches); Konetchy (Good; corner chip in the lower right, with tears and creases, easel back intact; 9 x 18.5 inches); and Bescher (Fair; both the bat and a portion of his foot are detached but the pieces are included and could conceivably be reattached; there is also a chip in the lower left, easel back intact; 11 x 16 inches). Despite the obvious flaws, all of the pieces present much better than their technically accurate grades suggest, especially since most of the condition problems are relegated to the base areas. This is a phenomenal collection of heretofore unknown advertising displays dating to baseball's famed dead-ball era. Total: 5 standup advertising displays. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,813

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