1931 Harrison Studios Homestead Grays Postcard: Ambrose Reid (Signed)

Sold For: $948

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 428

Item Year: 1931

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Extremely rare Harrison Studios real-photo Negro League postcard of Homestead Grays outfielder Ambrose Reid posing in uniform during spring training at Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1931. Harrison Studios is a virtually impossible-to-find sample card, and one with a significance over and above representing a rare set. While there are a number of vintage sets (all of which are very important sets) issued in other countries such as Cuba and Puerto Rico that featured Negro League stars, the 1931 Harrison Studios set featuring the Homestead Grays is the only vintage catalogued card set that we can think of featuring Negro League stars that was issued in America. Reid has signed the postcard "A. Reid" in black fountain pen (grading "8") along the top front border, and again on the reverse in black fountain pen (grading "9"), where he has added the inscription "To my pal/Lewis/from/Reid." The photographer's credit, "Harrison/Hot Springs Ark," appears in white lettering in the lower right corner. Reid only played with the Homestead Grays in 1931. This postcard is one of a series of individual Homestead Grays players produced during spring training of 1931 by Harrison Studios of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Five different players from this set are currently known (it is likely that all players on the team were issued), as well as a team card of the Homestead Grays, which is precisely dated by the photographer "4-3-31." All have traditional postcard backs. Interestingly, the offered postcard originates from the same small collection that included the twice-signed Josh Gibson postcard that appeared as Lot 4 in Robert Edward Auctions' May, 2006 sale (sold for $81,200). Eleven years earlier, REA handled a significant collection of Negro League materials, including photographs from the collection of Hall of Famer Louis Santop, one of the greatest players in Negro League history. When we auctioned this collection, included were two signed Homestead Grays postcards from the 1931 Harrison Studios, Hot Springs, Arkansas, set. The offered postcard was one of those two, and appeared as part of Lot 639 in the June 1995 Robert Edward Auctions catalog. At the time, the consignor did not yet want to part with the Gibson twice-signed postcard. The "Lewis" referred to in Reid's salutation is almost certainly Joseph Herman (Sleepy) Lewis, who was a star catcher in the Negro Leagues from 1919 to 1936 with many teams, including the Baltimore Black Sox, Washington Potomacs, Hilldale, and the Lincoln Giants. All examples of 1931 Harrison Studios Homestead Grays postcards are exceedingly rare. That fact, combined with this particular example's extraordinary provenance and the fact that it is signed, make it one of the finest of the few examples known. The postcard (3.5 x 5.5 inches) displays two small tack holes (one at the top and one at the bottom) and is otherwise in Excellent condition overall. Disclosure per section 13 of REA's terms and conditions: This lot has been consigned from the personal collection of an executive or employee of Robert Edward Auctions (or a relative of an executive or employee). LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $948

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