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1939 Joe Kelley Signed Baseball Centennial Commemorative Envelope
Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $2,938
This 1939 Baseball Centennial commemorative envelope features one of the most elusive of all Hall of Fame signatures: Joe Kelley, who was a key member of the fabled Baltimore Orioles baseball dynasty during the mid 1890s. Kelley's signature has been boldly scripted in black fountain pen (grading "10") on the front, below which (also in his hand) is the added the inscription "Baltimore 1894-5-6" (referencing Baltimore's three consecutive National League pennants). Joe Kelley's signature is one of the most difficult Hall of Famers to obtain in any form and has always been highly sought after by advanced collectors. The primary reason for the extreme rarity of Kelley's signature today is timing. In addition to playing in an era in which signature collecting was not very popular, Kelley passed away in 1943 but wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame until 1971. For nearly thirty years he was simply forgotten by autograph collectors. That lack of foresight by earlier collectors has resulted in Kelley's signature becoming a "holy grail" for anyone trying to assemble a substantial Hall of Fame autograph collection. The offered signature is as fine an example as we have seen, all the more so as it is on a 1939 Baseball Centennial envelope, and dates just four years prior to his passing away in 1943. The envelope features a three-cent Baseball Centennial stamp and has been addressed and mailed from Baltimore, Maryland, which is where Kelley resided at the time. The postmark is dated "Oct 3 1939." There is a small piece of adhesive tape affixed to the reverse; it is otherwise in spectacular Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500+. SOLD FOR $2,938
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