Sports

Signed ‘Shoeless’ Joe pic sells for record $1.47M

A 1911 “Shoeless” Joe Jackson autographed photograph by Frank W. Smith sold for $1.47 million, the most ever paid for a signed sports photograph.

The photo was offered by Christie’s and Hunt Auctions in New York in the auction Extra Innings: A Private Collection of Important Baseball Memorabilia.

According to Christie’s and the card and memorabilia grading giant PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), it is the only known Jackson-signed photo of himself in existence.

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While the $1.47 million price tag may seem steep, even for a name synonymous with baseball lore like “Shoeless” Joe — who was banned from baseball for life in 1921, despite being acquitted in the Black Sox scandal of 1919 — there is reason for it. Jackson was notably illiterate and avoided signing documents if he could. His wife signed for him mostly after his playing days ended.

Speaking for a feature on missing memorabilia in May, Mike Heffner, president and partner at Lelands Auctions, told ESPN: “Just his signature on a slip of paper is worth $50,000 to $100,000.”

This photo sold in 2015 with Heritage Auctions for $179,250 — making for an increase of more than 720% in six years.

The 246-lot auction by Christie’s and Hunt also featured a Babe Ruth professional model baseball bat with eight home run notches that sold for $1.05 million, a 1925 Lou Gehrig autographed rookie exhibit postcard that went for $687,500 and a 1952 Joe DiMaggio autographed handwritten letter to Marilyn Monroe that fetched $525,000.

Information from ESPN’s Dan Hajducky and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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