1887 N172 Connie Mack, signed by Mack on the reverse. Mack's signature has been boldly scripted in black fountain pen and grades "10." Encapsulated by PSA, with the signature certified as "Authentic" and the card graded GOOD 2. Mack is a scarce Hall of Famer within the Old Judge set to begin with, but this extraordinary card represents the only autographed 1887 N172 Old Judge card we have seen or heard of, and, as such, is therefore almost certainly one of the oldest signed baseball cards in the hobby (just by the fact that there are very few card issues that predate it). Despite the fact that Old Judge N172 tobacco cards have been popular and widely collected since 1887, signed examples, with the exception of the offered card, are virtually nonexistent. The reason for that is simple: few collectors back then had either the inclination or opportunity to get tobacco cards signed. Autograph collectors had many other options to get different types of items signed and rarely had cards at their disposal, while card collectors were usually only interested in cards, and seldom sought autographs. If the opportunity to get an autograph arose, few fans happened to have an N172 Old Judge card of the given player handy. The interest in autographed cards is relatively recent, and started long after nearly all of the players represented in the N172 set were dead. Mack was probably one of the few players in the set to live past 1950 (he died in 1956). That, plus the facts that he was one of the earliest inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1937) and managed the A's until 1950 (making him accessible to fans) most likely explains why this is the lone signed N172 in the hobby today. The fact that this example is signed by a legendary Hall of Famer makes it even more significant. Auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $20,000. Estimate (open).
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