Circa 1949 Joe Jackson Correspondence Archive (116)

Sold For: $2,700

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 1953

Item Year: 1949

Category: Post-1900 Baseball Memorabilia

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While Joe Jackson's banishment from baseball in 1920 marked the end of one of the game's most accomplished careers, it had no affect upon his popularity with fans, as evidenced by this remarkable collection of 116 letters written to Jackson shortly before his passing in 1951. All of the letters, dating between the years 1932 and 1951 (the overwhelming majority are from 1949 and 1950), are addressed to Joe Jackson and come complete with their original mailing envelopes. Nearly all of the letters are from autograph seekers, but a few were written just to offer support to baseball's most famous "fallen idol." In the fall of 1949 Jackson granted his one and only interview regarding the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal to sportswriter Furman Bisher. That interview, in which Jackson proclaimed his innocence in the conspiracy, then appeared as an article in the October 1949 issue of Sport magazine under the title "This is the Truth." The article also listed Jackson's home address, which resulted in a flood of letters to Jackson after the story ran. (A few of the letters in this collection make specific mention of the article.) Despite the numerous autograph requests in this collection, a few of the letters also deal with other subjects. One of the early letters, from 1937, is from a gentleman looking for work in Jackson's liquor store. Another letter, from 1945, is from a U.S. serviceman stationed in India who writes to tell Jackson of a good baseball prospect who will be heading home soon. There is also a letter from a seventeen-year old ballplayer asking for batting tips. Of the 116 letters, eight are in the form of postcards and the vast majority are handwritten. Of course, as we know today, nearly all of the Joe Jackson autographs returned to his fans during this period were signed by his wife, but given the amount of mail he received (of which this was just a fraction) how could anyone blame him. All of the letters (various sizes) are in Very Good to Excellent condition overall. The mailing envelopes display normal opening tears and are in Good to Very Good condition overall. This is a rare and fascinating correspondence archive originating from Jackson's estate. Total: 116 letters. Reserve $400. Estimate (open).

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