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Honus Wagner Signed Photo and Letterhead Printing Plate in Framed Display

  • Sold For: $3,259
  • Year: 1950
  • Auction: 2012 spring
  • Lot #: 867
  • Auction Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

This unique framed display is comprised of a small signed “action” photo of Honus Wagner and a printing plate used to produce the letterhead for Honus Wagner’s sporting-goods store stationery. 1) The black-and-white photo (4 x 3 inches) pictures Wagner at bat during a game and has been inscribed, “Honus Wagner/18 Yrs,” in black fountain pen along the top border (grading “9,” with some very light brushing to the ink). The “18 Yrs” refers to Wagner’s time with Pittsburgh as a player. Based upon the rare two-year-only uniform style shown here, this photo captures Wagner in either 1908 or 1909. Photos of Wagner “in action” are rare, especially at bat. While this photo is not an original, it is a vintage print and one that obviously dates prior to Wagner’s death in 1955. 2) Rare (possibly unique) original printing plate used to produce the letterhead for Wagner’s sporting-goods store stationery. The plate pictures the familiar image of Wagner sitting on a bat, with the text reading “Honus Wagner/Official League Balls/Cork And Rubber Center/Honus Wagner Company/Pittsburgh. U. S. A.” This is one of several different letterheads we have seen on Wagner company stationery. The Honus Wagner Sporting Goods Company was founded in 1919 and although it used his name, Wagner’s only connection to the business was to occasionally visit the store to meet and greet customers. Unfortunately, the store was not very successful and in 1929, after declaring bankruptcy, the company’s assets, and the rights to use Wagner's name and image, were purchased by E. Louis Braunstein. Interestingly, the company, located in downtown Pittsburgh, is still in business today. The metal plate (7.25 x 2.25 inches) is affixed to an approximate one-inch thick piece of wood and is in Excellent condition. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,259

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