Signed Photo of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson Sets Auction Record

It sold for just under $1.5 million

'Shoeless Joe' Jackson
Joe Jackson when he played for the Cleveland Indians.
Sporting News via Getty Images

“Shoeless” Joe Jackson has been played on the big screen by the likes of Ray Liotta and D.B. Sweeney. He’s remembered in baseball history as one of the greatest players to be ineligible for election to the Hall of Fame. And he continues to hold a number of team statistical records from his time playing in Cleveland and Chicago. Now, Jackson has set another milestone via the sale of a signed photograph at auction.

The auction, part of a larger sale of baseball memorabilia, was held via Christie’s and Hunt Auctions. The signed photograph of Jackson dated to 1911, and was expected to sell for between $200,000 and $400,000. Instead, the sale came to $1,470,000 — and, as Andrew Golden noted at The Washington Post, set a record for the highest amount a signed sports photograph has ever sold for.

There are a few reasons for this, as Golden observed in his article. Not many photos of him taken during his playing career have survived to the present day, for one thing. He was also illiterate — which means that only a handful documents with his signature on them exist.

Intriguingly, another item signed by Jackson also sold for more than expected earlier this year. Lynn Riddle of The State reported that his 1949 South Carolina drivers license sold at auction for $125,460.

Could this renewed attention in Jackson’s life and career be prelude to a successful campaign to get him elected to the Hall of Fame? An ESPN report from last year suggested that Major League Baseball’s ineligible list only lasts for the duration of a player’s life — so it certainly seems more plausible than in years past.

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