Vintage Item Spotlight-The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword

lombardi playBy David G. Firestone
One of the reasons I love this hobby is how many unusual things get sold and bought in it. I’ve seen things over the years that are stunning, and I have had the opportunity to buy and sell some of them myself. Autographs are something that might not seem as unusual, but things get sold that most people can not seem to wrap their arms around. I’ve done so many signings over the years and I’ve seen everything from video game controllers to kicking tees autographed by players.
One of the more “mundane” things that are a hot bed for autographs are checks. When he was in his prime, Babe Ruth checks were often worth more for their signatures than they ever were to cash. Autographed checks are a very popular item for collectors. This example is from Lloyd “Lil Poison” Waner.waner1
It was signed on October 16, 1972 to the City of Oklahoma City Water Service for $25.57. This check has been cashed, and the stamp did not go through Waner’s signature.waner2 The same can be said for this Max Carey check from 1953. Carey had to cash a check for $40 on October 15, 1953, and signed this check both on the front:carey1
and back:carey2
“Cut signatures” are when a signature has been cut out of a larger item and mounted onto a card. This is a Babe Herman example from Upper Deck SP in 2007. Floyd Caves “Babe” Herman signed a check with FC Herman, and it was cut from the check and mounted in the card. It has no flaws in the signature and looks really goodbabeherman
Leo “Gabby” Hartnett is one of the greatest Chicago Cub players of all time. A Hall of Famer who earned a place in baseball lore with his “Homer in the Gloamin’” in 1938, Hartnett has forever earned his place in Chicago baseball history. Hartnett signed an item, and this signature was cut and mounted to a card. It has not aged as well it could have, but the signature is still in great shape.hartnet
Moving away from sports, the political arena is a hotbed for autographed items. This example is a cut signature from Columbus Delano, who was the 11th Secretary of the Interior, under Ulysses S. Grant. He was a big supporter of Reservations for Native Americans, and helped create the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona. His tenure was cut short due to allegations of corruption. After leaving the Presidential Cabinet, he became the president of the First National Bank of Mount Vernon in Ohio. He was also a trustee of Kenyon College. This is a cut signature from his time in Mount Vernon. It has been mounted in a small case.delano
After helping the Allies storm the Beach in Normandy, and help destroy the Third Reich, Dwight Eisenhower went on to get elected to two terms as President of the United States. He dealt with the Space Race, the Cold War, the creation of the Interstate Highway System, and the Korean War, amongst other things. On February 7, 1954, his personal physician, Howard McCrum Snyder was in the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC on his birthday, and Eisenhower sent his a very humorous letter to cheer him up, and initialed it at the bottom.eisenhower Eisenhower sig
For a civilian to get into the Senate Gallery in Washington, they need a pass signed by their Senator. On May 10, 1957, Mrs. Everett Hutchinson had such a pass signed for her, by then Senate Majority Leader and future President Lyndon Baines Johnson!johnson johnson sig
From 1830 to 1837, William IV was King of England. He was the Duke of Clarence, assuming the throne when King George IV died without an heir to the Throne. He discouraged pomp and circumstance, and was the oldest person to ever assume the British Throne. This is a huge cut signature from King William IV, and though the ink has faded a bit, it is still in great shape.williamIV-2The question of who is the greatest President of the United States has one simple answer, Abraham Lincoln. He was the President in the darkest period of the country, oversaw the Civil War, and helped reunite the United States of America as a country after that dark period. He would give his life for his country after that conflict. When he was a lawyer in Springfield Illinois, he wrote a legal document, which these two small words “9+10” and “$10” were cut from.Lincoln
Union College in Schenectady, New York has a football tradition that extends back to the late 1800’s. This is a set of notes from 1895, written by Captain Beckwith, who was the captain of the team. It has a series of hand gestures that would be used to communicate the play from the coach to the quarterback. For a document that is as old as it is, it is in great shape.unionnotes
As I like to do, I saved my favorite item for last. When you talk football history, there is no name that comes up that is as respected and revered as Vince Lombardi. Widely considered to be the greatest coach in football history, his legacy lives in the Lombardi Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl each season. This is a play that was drawn by Lombardi in 1957, during his time as an assistant coach with the New York Giants under Jim Lee Howell and opposite Tom Landry. I will let the item speak for itself.lombardi play


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