1918 Ty Cobb Signed Photo - In Military Uniform

Sold For: $4,444

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 775

Item Year: 1918

Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

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Rare photo of Ty Cobb, dressed in full military uniform as a captain in the United States Army, boldly inscribed in black fountain pen to our consignor's grandfather: "To Major Charles H. Dayhuff/In sincere appreciation/Ty Cobb/Oct-10th-18." There is a small amount of smudging to the "hu" in "Dayhuff," otherwise both the inscription and signature grade "10." In the spring of 1918, as World War I raged on overseas, major league baseball players found that their jobs had been ruled "non-essential" to the war effort, thereby making all eligible players subject to military service. After being granted a period of grace by the Secretary of War so that the two leagues could complete a shortened schedule ending in August, many of the game's top players shipped out overseas to fulfill their duty, including Cobb. This magnificent photo captures Cobb posing in his military uniform just before he shipped to France, where he served as a captain in the Chemical Warfare Service. Ideally, it is accompanied by a two-page letter (two sides of the same sheet) of provenance from our consignor detailing its history. The consignor's grandfather was a Major in the Adjutant General Corps and in the fall of 1918 he was the identification officer stationed in Hoboken, New Jersey, from where all of the troops departed en route to either England or France. It was there that he met Cobb and the two developed a friendship. Luckily for Cobb (or maybe the Germans), he arrived overseas just three weeks prior to the armistice, so he never saw any combat action and was back home by December. This photograph (3.5 x 5.25 inches), which displays exceptional clarity, has been a treasured heirloom in our consignor's family for nearly 100 years. As such it has always been well cared for and remains in Near Mint condition. Photographs of Cobb in his military uniform dating from his short period of service in the armed forces are rare, especially signed examples. This is only the second such signed photo we have ever seen, and the first we have ever offered. The combination of the photo's extraordinary provenance, rarity, and condition, together with the flawless signature upon it, and the fact that it dates from Cobb's active playing career, make this one of the finest Cobb signed photos we have ever offered, and one that would be a significant addition and highlight in even the most advanced Cobb collection. Perfect in all respects. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $4,444

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