A rare, original Charles Conlon photo of Joe Jackson, die cut for use in print more than 100 years ago, has hit the auction block.
The 5×7 photo shows Shoeless Joe in his Cleveland Indians uniform with Conlon’s handwritten notes and signature on the back. It’s the first lot in RMY Auctions’ February catalog and believed to be one of only two of its kind in the hobby. The same image of Jackson, complete, sold for $32,588 in 2012 but would likely command a higher price in the current market.
The notes on the back in pencil include Conlon referencing the need for using the tools available at the time to make Jackson appear as a member of the team to which he’d just been traded: the Chicago White Sox.
Jackson was traded from Cleveland to Chicago in August 1915. Indians owner Charles Somers feared he would lose Jackson to the Federal League and needing to move one of his star players to save cash, he made the deal with the White Sox.
Struggling at times, Jackson was encouraged for a fresh start and rebounded with a team primed to contend. After winning the World Series in 1917, the Sox appeared again in 1919 but fairly or unfairly, Jackson found himself caught up in the gambling scandal that ended his career with lifetime banishment.
The photo contains the original gloss and finish from the original production. RMY calls it “one of the most important pieces of baseball photography we have ever offered.”
It’s one of several hundred photos in the auction, which is underway from now through February 16 at RMYAuctions.com.