The following four 1935 Pebble Beach Clothiers postcards were recently discovered in a northern California estate are being presented here for the first time publicly. An accompanying letter sheds some light onto the distribution and promotional use of these postcards. The May 4, 1935 letter from San Francisco radio personality Ernie Smith describes a redemption offer for these “personally signed pictures” in exchange for “a band from a Pebble Beach necktie.” Highlighting this discovery is an astonishingly high grade example of the issue’s key rarity, Joe DiMaggio and an equally preserved example of issue’s second most coveted gem Lefty O’Doul. Both indisputably stand as the finest of the few know examples respectively that have surfaced to date.
The small series of (seven known) postcards produced by Bay Area clothing retailer Pebble Beach Clothiers in 1935 features selected players from the three Bay Area PCL teams (the Oakland Oaks, Mission Reds, and San Francisco Seals) as well as other notable Bay Area sports figures. These 3-1/2” x 5-1/2” cards feature real photographic fronts with typical postcard indicia on backs and were distributed already autographed by the featured player. The series is among the rarest PCL issues known, and accounts for, arguably, the scarcest representation of Joe DiMaggio from any card series documented in The Standard Catalog of Baseball cards. The validation of its rarity can be confirmed by combing a library of major sports auction catalogues from the last decade or more. Other than the offered example we have seen only one other example of this extreme rarity offered in a major auction, a lesser condition example sold for $7,539 in 2010.
This extraordinary postcard showcases a period version of Joe DiMaggio’s signature flawlessly executed on the sepia-toned image. His blue fountain pen scripting rates a perfect GEM MINT 10 according to the experts at PSA/DNA. The medium itself is equally strong with astonishing visual quality and hardly a trace of evident handling. By every standard with which cards are measured in the hobby – rarity, aesthetic quality and historical significance – this is a supreme collectible. The crystal clear, impeccably detailed image was captured in 1933 shows DiMaggio as a 19-year old budding star for the San Francisco Seals, on the verge of taking the baseball world by storm. Just one year prior, DiMaggio was playing semi-pro ball when his brother Vince DiMaggio, playing for the Seals, talked his manager into letting DiMaggio fill in at shortstop; he made his professional debut on October 1, 1932. From May 27 – July 25, 1933, he got at least one hit in a PCL-record 61 consecutive games: "Baseball didn't really get into my blood until I knocked off that hitting streak.” DiMaggio later said. “Getting a daily hit became more important to me than eating, drinking or sleeping." One year after this postcard was issued, DiMaggio burst onto the major league landscape. Heralded beyond any rookie in the game before him, DiMaggio somehow exceeded unsurpassable expectations, leading the Yankees to a World Championship in 1936 and ushered in a second chapter in sports greatest dynasty.
Encapsulated by PSA/DNA GEM MINT 10 (auto.), this certainly ranks among the finest Joe DiMaggio collectibles the hobby has ever seen.