December 2019 Holiday Premium Auction
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A Shoeless Joe Jackson rookie "card" issued during his record-setting rookie season of 1911. One of only two examples ever numerically graded by PSA. It is one of the most famous images of one of baseball's most celebrated players of the pre-war era: a serenely focused Joe Jackson, with shoes, fielding his position in the outfield grass at League Park II, where the Cleveland Naps played their home games. Although Jackson appeared on two very famous baseball cards prior to the 1911 season, namely the 1909 American Caramel and 1910 Old Mill issues, both of which are considered to be the legend's rookie cards and are widely regarded as American treasures, Jackson's rookie season didn't come until 1911, when he famously hit for a .408 average and paced all of baseball with a .468 on-base percentage. His .408 average that season remains the 6th highest season average since 1901, and it set the record for batting average in a single season by a rookie, a mark that is virtually guaranteed to never be broken.

Since Shoeless Joe Jackson set the rookie record batting average in 1911, it is perfectly reasonable therefore to identify any of Jackson's baseball cards issued that season as legitimate rookie cards. Unfortunately for collectors, however, only two such issues were produced, the infamously scarce 1911 T5 Pinkerton Cabinet, conservatively valued between $40,000 and $50,000 in low-grade condition, and the slightly more common 1911 M101-2 Sporting News Supplement. PSA has never graded a single 1911 T5 Jackson; indeed, only a small handful are known to exist, hence the small fortunes they command at auction. Although certainly not as scarce or valuable as the T5, PSA has nevertheless only graded three copies of the 1911 M101-2 Sporting News Supplement. One of those two is graded authentic only because it is either trimmed or torn, and the other two are rated PR 1.

Proudly offered in this lot is one of those two numerically graded examples, and judging by its remarkable appearance, it is most likely the finest of those two. The offered example presents in the EX to even NM range but has been graded PR 1 due entirely to some tolerable folds in its paper stock. Typically, these supplements show significant signs of handling and circulation, and they almost always show small tears, holes, and missing paper. Not so on this sparkling Shoeless Joe! With no copies graded by SGC and just ten others on record at BGS—until last year, BGS was the only company whose holder could fit the supplement—the offered example must absolutely be considered among the very finest examples in existence.

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