JACK DEMPSEY - AUTOGRAPHED INSCRIBED PHOTOGRAPH CO-SIGNED BY: JAMES J. LEE - HFSID 178065
Sale Price $427.50
JACK DEMPSEYSepia publicity photograph inscribed and signed by the boxer, in connection with an event he refereed in Willimantic, Connecticut in 1935 Inscribed Photograph Signed: "To My Pal James J. Lee/a great fellow/ With very good/ Wish & success/from your friend/ Jack Dempsey". Also signed on verso: "Jack Dempsey/ Referee/ at State Army Willimantic/ June 17, 1935/ Jas. J Lee". Sepia, 8x10 overall, image 7x9¼ (one surface). Billed as "The Manassa Mauler" and "the toughest man ever to come out of the West,"the 6-foot, 190-pound Jack Dempsey (1895-1983) met the 6-foot-6, 250-pound heavyweight champion Jess Willard on July 4, 1919, in Toledo, Ohio. Dempsey won on a 3rd-round knockout. During the next seven years, Dempsey defended his title only six times but made a lot of money in the process. His fight against Frenchman Georges Carpentier on July 2, 1921 produced boxing's first $1 million gate. He lost his title to Gene Tunney on September 23, 1926 in a ten-round decision, after which he retired. Named the greatest fighter of the first half of the 20th century in a 1950 Associated Press poll, he won 60 professional fights, 49 by knockout; lost 7, 1 by knockout; and fought 7 draws, 5 no-decisions, and 1 no-contest. The autograph note on verso might merit further research. Willimantic, Connecticut is home to Eastern Connecticut University, which was called the Willimantic State Normal School in 1935. It's not improbable that the school may have been involved in an athletic competition with a nearby army unit, and that Jack Dempsey - retired in 1935 - would have volunteered to referee it. A Sergeant James J. Lee from Willimantic, Connecticut appears on the August 23, 1918 list of U.S. soldiers wounded in France in World War I. Lightly soiled and scratched. Adequate contrast of signature. Otherwise, fine condition.
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