Holiday Auction Closing December 7 ,2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/7/2019

Presented is a J. L. Wilkinson signed bank document dated December 1945. The Baseball Hall of Fame owner of the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues has signed his name at the bottom of the 8½ x 11-inch brown paper sheet in blue pen and inscribed the date “Dec. 1945” below his signature. The typewritten document summarizes bonds held in his account at the University Bank and has additional inscriptions in blue pen at the bottom of the page, and inscriptions in gray graphite pencil on the back of the page. A white man, Wilkinson is regarded as one of the most innovative and creative Negro leagues owners. He was the principal owner of the Kansas City Monarchs from 1920-48, one of less than a handful of dominant Negro leagues teams.

The Monarchs ruled two separate leagues in two separate time periods. A charter member of the Negro National League in 1920, the team won its pennant four times in the 1920s (1923-24, ‚26 and ‚29). Then, as a charter member of the Negro American League, the Monarchs finished first seven times (1937-42 and 1946). Wilkinson’s Monarchs also won two of four Negro World Series in which they played. They won the first Series in 1924, defeating Hilldale of the Eastern Colored League. They won the initial Series when the competition resumed in 1942, beating the Homestead Grays.

From 1931-37, when Black league baseball was in difficult financial straits, Wilkinson turned the Monarchs into a pure barnstorming club, drawing on their substantial popularity in the Midwest. To enable the team to play additional games at night in addition to their daytime schedule, and as a drawing card, Wilkinson spent his own money on a portable lighting system, trucking it along behind the team bus when the Monarchs hit the road. Seven current Hall of Famers elected as Negro leaguers -- Cool Papa Bell, Bill Foster, Satchel Paige, Bullet Rogan, Hilton Smith, Turkey Stearnes and Willie Wells -- played for Wilkinson’s Monarchs, as did Jackie Robinson, Ernie Banks and Elston Howard, among others, before integrating white organized baseball. This item comes with a LOA from the Wilkinson family, and a LOA from Steve Grad of Beckett Authentication. This item has been graded GEM MT 10, the highest possible signature grade from Beckett Authentication (A25524).

J. L. Wilkinson Signed Bank Document-Exceedingly Rare Signature of Hall Of Famer and Founder of Kansas City Monarchs – (Beckett GEM MINT 10 & Family LOA)
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $5,842.50
Number Bids: 4
Auction closed on Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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