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1883 Cap Anson Signed Chicago White Stockings Payment Voucher

  • Sold For: $8,888
  • Year: 1883
  • Auction: 2012 spring
  • Lot #: 772
  • Auction Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

Payment voucher, dated July 20, 1883, signed by Hall of Fame first baseman Adrian "Cap" Anson. This is both an exceedingly rare and extraordinary Cap Anson signed piece. It features one of the earliest Cap Anson signatures known and is extremely noteworthy as the only known example dating from and directly relating to his active playing career that we have ever seen offered. Anson's signature is rare in any form, but nearly all of the examples circulating in the collecting world today date from the 1900s, long after his baseball career had ended. Ideally, this piece not only dates to his playing career, it directly relates to it! The voucher, which is both printed and handwritten, reads, "Chicago July 20, 1883 - Received from The Chicago Ball Club - Five hundred Dollars - in full payment of dividends declared July 18, 1883 on five shares of stock owned by me. $500." It is signed "A. C. Anson" in black fountain pen (grading "6"). Anson was at the peak of his career at the time this voucher was signed. As player/manager of the Chicago White Stockings, Anson won five National League pennants in the seven-year span 1880-1886, a period in which he also reigned as one the game's best hitters. Anson batted over .300 in each of those seven seasons, including a league-leading .399 in 1881, and also led the league in RBI every season but one (1883). As evidenced here, Anson's stake in the success of the team was greater than that of other managers by virtue of his shareholder status. A check of the schedule reveals that Friday, July 20th, was an off day for the Chicago White Sox, who were in the midst of a lengthy twenty-four-game home stand at the time. Obviously, with the day free of any on-the-field encumbrances, Anson had time to catch up on his business and financial affairs. While we do not have a record of Anson's yearly salary for 1883, it has been reported that he received $2,500 for the 1884 campaign. If so, then this dividend represented a sizable portion of his income that year. Interesting provenance note: When the longtime collector that has had this piece for countless years told us about it, we immediately recognized it just from the description! We had seen and even handled it decades earlier. This piece was originally in a framed display with two other items: one was another similar payment voucher issued to and signed by Al Spalding. The other was a circa 1876 Chicago White Stockings stock certificate signed by William Hulbert. Each was mounted in exactly the same manner as the Anson payment voucher. The display of three signed items was offered for sale or trade in the 1970s in a hobby publication (we believe it was The Trader Speaks ) by Bill Loughman, a very well known old-time Chicago area collector (who we happen to remember was a pilot). Bill Loughman had bought the display from a gentleman by the name of E. A. Parichy, who was a very prominent early Chicago-area collector who in the 1930s opened one of the first baseball museums in America. (E. A. Parichy, who was in the roofing business and a promoter of woman's professional softball, was also responsible for producing the colorful set of "Centennial of Baseball Stamps" featuring Hall of Famers issued in 1939.) We only know all this because future REA president Robert Lifson actually saw the ad and called Bill Loughman and made a deal for the framed display. He traded it to Barry Halper and then lost track of the display. Barry Halper must have traded it away in one of his many dealings. Somewhere along the line, the three items, each of which was a very significant item in its own right, were separated. Somewhere out there is an 1883 payment voucher signed by Spalding! This 1883 Anson signed payment voucher may very well represent the finest Cap Anson signed item in the hobby. We cannot recall another that even remotely approaches the significance of this piece. This is a definitive example that would be a supreme highlight in any advanced Hall of Fame autograph collection. The voucher (8 x 3.5 inches), which has the appearance of a check, displays a few tiny interior tears (three showing paper loss), three vertical folds, a small, light stain in the lower left, and a small area of light discoloration in the lower right. The name "Anson" is written in pencil along the top. The voucher has been dry mounted onto a cardboard backing (exactly as were the two other items that once accompanied it). In Very Good condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $8,888

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