JACK DEMPSEY - PICTURE POST CARD SIGNED - HFSID 283180
Signed picture post card with a replica of the 1923 title fight between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons. The fight nearly ruined the town of Shelby, Montana and ranks as one of the greatest boxing promotion disasters in history.
Sale Price $270.00
JACK DEMPSEY Signed picture post card with a replica of the 1923 title fight between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons. The fight nearly ruined the town of Shelby, Montana and ranks as one of the greatest boxing promotion disasters in history. Picture post card signed "Jack Dempsey" on verso. Pencil notations in unknown hand. Color, 7x2¾. The front of this post card has a replica of a $50 ringside seat to the July 4, 1923 title match between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons in Shelby, Montana. Historical notes printed on verso. Shelby, Montana is probably best known for being nearly ruined by a 1923 title match between world heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons. James W. "Body" Johnson tried to attract a Dempsey fight to Shelby, reportedly as a real estate stunt, after reading that Montreal, Quebec, Canada had offered a $100,000 purse for a match between Dempsey and an unnamed challenger. The problem was that the little town of 2,500 was spectacularly unprepared for such a fight. The residents of Shelby had to construct a 42,000-spectator stadium for the fight, a capacity that was almost 17 times larger than the town's population. Worse, the town's offer to Dempsey ballooned to $300,000, and the town was unable to pay part of the money. When this happened, Dempsey's manager reported in the press that the fight was off, which all but killed ticket sales. Those who did show up were Montana locals who refused to pay the fight's $50 and $25 ticket prices. The stadium was mostly empty on the day of the fight - July 4, 1923 - and most of those who did show up saw the fight for free. The fight itself was generally considered to be a success, if a little boring. Dempsey retained his title in a unanimous decision, but Gibbons went 15 rounds against the Manassa Mauler, the first time anyone had managed to do so. However, Shelby and the state suffered for Dempsey's triumph. Four Montana banks went out of business, and Shelby was essentially broke after the fight. The town survived and is today an agricultural town of 3,200 souls. Billed as the "Manassa Mauler" and the "toughest man ever to come out of the West," the 6-foot, 190-pound Dempsey (1895-1983, born William Harrison Dempsey in Manassa, Colorado) met the 6-foot-6, 250-pound heavyweight champion Jess Willard on July 4, 1919, at 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 Sept. 23, 1926 in a 10-round decision, after which he retired. Named the greatest fighter of the half-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. Lightly toned, stained and creased. Pen skipped while writing signature, which has low contrast but is legible. Top edge of post card is lightly discolored on verso (does not touch signature). Light chipping in top right corner and light dents along top edge. Rounded and worn corners. Otherwise in fine condition.
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