Rare Willie Mays Signed Limited-Edition LeRoy Neiman Serigraph - Artist's Proof

Sold For: $4,700

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 1577

Item Year: 1978

Category: LeRoy Neiman Serigraphs

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Titled Willie Mays , issued in 1978, serigraph numbered "AP"("Artists Proof," which is particularly desirable in the eyes of many collectors), flawlessly signed in pencil in the lower margin by Willie Mays ("Willie Mays 660 HR") and LeRoy Neiman (each grading "10"). Edition limited in number to 300 numbered impressions (the number of artist's and printer's proofs produced for this work are not listed on Neiman's official website). This is a significant Neiman serigraph for number of reasons. The first is the fact that it is signed by Mays. This piece was was not originally issued as a Mays signed piece. Our consignor invested considerable time and money in acquiring Mays' signature on it. As he recounts, getting Mays to agree to sign the piece turned out to be just half the battle. Apparently, Mays' eyesight is not what it used to be and more than once our consignor had to stop Mays as he attempted to sign the piece not along the bottom border, but on the artwork itself. Luckily, it turned out fine and he even got Mays to add the "660 HR" notation as an added bonus. According to our consignor, this is one of two Willie Mays Neiman serigraphs he had signed in this manner, with the other remaining in his private collection. While it is still possible for collectors to obtain a Mays signature on other examples of this serigraph (at great expense we might add), we have never seen, nor are we aware of, any other signed examples outside of this one and the other owned by our consignor. Mays is one of the more "difficult" players when it comes to private signings and we can't imagine that many more of these pieces (perhaps none) will ever be signed by Mays in the future. The Mays signature notwithstanding, this is also a very scarce Neiman serigraph and in fact is the first example we have ever offered. While its rarity is obviously a product of its limited production number and the fact that this is a very early Neiman serigraph, another reason is probably its aesthetics. This is one of the most exceptional baseball works ever created by Neiman and we can see why collectors would be unwilling to part with it. This may be the single finest Willie Mays signed display piece in existence and is one of the most highly regarded "blue chips" among Neiman's work. Perfect for display at home or office. The serigraph was once been matted and framed and therefore displays a light area of toning along the white border that outlines the former matting. The piece also has remnants of mounting tape on the top border of the reverse. All of these extremely minor flaws are easily matted out and the central image remains in Mint condition. 28 x 30 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,700

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