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1922 Joe Kelley Signed New York Yankees Payroll Check
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $3,525
Joe Kelley is one of the rarest of all Hall of Fame signatures. Presented here is an extraordinary New York Yankees payroll check issued to Joe Kelley in 1922 during his days as a scout for the New York Americans. This is only the second Joe Kelley signed check we have ever seen. The first, which was also a 1922 Yankees payroll check, but signed twice by Kelley, appeared as Lot 824 in Robert Edward Auctions' May 2008 sale, where it realized a final sales price of $11,162. The offered check, dated October 31, 1922, and drawn on the Yorkville Bank of New York, is made out to Kelley in the amount of $300 and is signed on the front in black fountain pen (grading “10”) by team-owner Jacob Ruppert. Team treasurer, "T. L. Huston," who also owned a part of the club, has countersigned the check in black fountain pen ("10") along the left border. The signature of "Joseph J. Kelley" appears on the reverse in black fountain pen ("8") as an endorsement. The typed notation "Salary for October" appears at the top of the reverse. Kelley, who was a star outfielder with the fabled Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s, was briefly working as a scout for the Yankees in 1922. Kelley died in relative obscurity in 1943 and wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame until 1971, which is the main reason for the great rarity of his signature today. Autograph collectors have always placed a special premium on checks due to their inherent authenticity. Joe Kelley signed items in any form are seldom offered at public sale and represent a “holy grail” for many Hall of Fame autograph collectors. The check (9 x 3.25 inches) displays a single, light vertical fold and a paperclip impression in the upper left corner, as well as normal bank cancellation stamps and perforations. In Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $3,525
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