(Newport Beach, CA) – PSA/DNA (www.PSADNA.com) recently authenticated baseball documents dating back to the 1890s Players’ League. These signed documents represent the inaugural players revolt against team management, formed on December 17, 1889, and are slated to hit the auction block by Memory Lane Inc. in December 2017.
Considered among the greatest discoveries of America’s pastime, the group of documents includes incredibly rare signatures from prominent baseball figures of the past, most notably Tim Keefe, Buck Ewing and John Montgomery Ward.
“Collecting 19th century baseball autographs is one of the toughest endeavors in the entire hobby,” said PSA/DNA President and Collectors Universe CEO Joe Orlando. “Not only was the practice of acquiring them uncommon, but many of the autographs signed during the period were discarded over time. Opportunities to add the autograph of players like Buck Ewing, Tim Keefe and John Montgomery Ward do not come around often, but the combination of their scarcity coupled with the importance of these documents makes this opportunity even more enticing for the advanced hobbyist.
“Content can play a significant role in the appeal of an autograph, especially when it is related to the sport that made each signer famous. The fact that these elusive signatures are connected to such historical documents takes the intrigue to a whole new level.”
The documents were uncovered in what is being referred to as “The Northeast Find,” where several historic baseball documents were uncovered decades ago in a New York-based building storage room. The items were eventually brought to the attention of auction house Memory Lane earlier this year, who then submitted the documents to PSA/DNA for authentication.
The 1890s Players' League led to the advent of “free agency” and the expansion of players’ rights, which were once significantly constricted by owners. As such, this group of documents holds a profound significance in the sport’s history.
“The rarity of baseball autographs or documents dating to the 19th century cannot be overstated. Any such item, regardless of the content or a signer’s significance, is a treasure, making this discovery of documents relating to the 1890 Players’ League truly astounding. The founding of the league represents the first official attempt by players to assert their rights vis-à-vis ownership. That fact alone makes this almost forgotten chapter in baseball history enormously relevant to the game’s evolution,” said PSA/DNA Authenticator Kevin Keating.
Along with notable signatures from Keefe, Ewing and Ward, this group of documents includes a Player’s League Articles of Agreement, a Constitution and more.
The documents will be split into a multiple auction lot sale starting Friday, December 22, 2017 and ending Saturday, January 13, 2018. For more information on the auction, visit: memorylaneinc.com/site/lots/gallery.
PSA is the world's largest trading card, autograph and memorabilia authentication and grading service. Since 1991, PSA experts have examined and certified over 29 million collectibles with a combined value of over $1 billion.