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1935 Lou Gehrig Signed Original Artwork (with Interesting Story Relating To Signing)
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $5,288
Exceptional original artwork of Lou Gehrig, produced in 1935 by artist Ferruccio "Fergus" Panepinto, inscribed by Gehrig to the artist in the lower right corner: "To Fergus - With Kindest Personal Regards - Lou Gehrig." Both the inscription and signature, which have been penned in black fountain pen, contrast beautifully against the light-colored background and grade "8" overall. Executed in mixed media on board, the painting pictures a bust-length image of Gehrig in uniform and appears to be based on the famous Charles Conlon photo of Gehrig in a similar pose. It has been signed and dated by the artist to the right of Gehrig's image: "Fergus Ferruccio Panepinto - 1935." The board (9.75 x 12.25 inches) displays three tack holes along the top border, as well as minor edge wear from having once been matted, and is affixed to a white mount (13 x 17 inches). Incredibly, the rich history of this piece is extensively chronicled on the reverse of a second unattached mounting board. Ferruccio Panepinto was a twenty-year-old aspiring artist in 1935 and a student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In a scenario that would be almost unheard of today, Panepinto, after creating this piece, later scheduled a personal interview with Gehrig during one of the Yankees' first trips to Philadelphia that season. Gehrig, always one of the game's most cordial players, met with Panepinto in his hotel room before a game and personally signed it for him. The full details of the meeting are conveyed in pencil (presumably in Panepinto's hand) on the reverse of the second board: "Pa. Academy of Fine Arts. Phila. - Ferruccio "Fergis" Panepinto - Personal Autograph & discussion with - LOU GEHRIG + room-mate BILL DICKEY, catcher. - Ben Franklin Hotel 3rd floor. About 10:30 A.M. - 1935. Scheduled to play 1:30 PM - late Spring Day - N.Y. Yankees vs. Phila. Athletics - Shibe Park - Phila." The name "P. Christie" (perhaps a former owner of the piece) is stamped in red on a small white sticker adjacent to the pencil notations. Research indicates that the Yankees were indeed in Philadelphia for a three-game series against the A's from April 26th through April 29th in 1935 and did not return to Philadelphia until July 2nd. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that this painting was signed by Gehrig on one of those three dates. Original period baseball artworks dating from this period, especially of this quality, are rare. Those signed by the respective players are rarer still. This is an exceptional Gehrig signed display piece in all respects and one of the finest original artworks of the famed "Iron Horse" we have ever seen dating from the period of his active playing career. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $5,288
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