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1916 Cleveland Indians Pennant

Lot Number 438

Quantity: Bid Starts: 05/12/2010 12:00:00 
Bid Open: 900.00  Bid Ends: 05/27/2010 21:00:00 
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While its homage to Native Americans has long been displayed in team logos, Cleveland's Major League Baseball franchise had endured an identity crisis of sorts, going by three separate monikers in the early-20th century before finally settling on the current mascot. The offered vintage pennant represents one of the very earliest keepsakes bearing the "Indians" name. Crafted in 1916, this deep-green felt gonfalon features "CLEVELAND" horizontally displayed in white appliqué. Native American likenesses emerge from each of the nine letters in colorful appliqué. The first of these mascots is clad in a complete headdress, while the remaining "tribesmen" have single feathers in their braided hair. While a "T.E. WANSTALL - 1916" appliqué copyright specifically dates the item, the mascot design further supports the relic's 1916 origin, as the club adopted the "Indians" name following the Boston Braves' 1914 World Series feat. Claims that the club had chosen "Indians" to honor Louis Sockalexis are likely fictional, as Sockalexis had played for the club nearly three decades prior. Having gone by "Blues, "Bronchos" and "Naps" (the latter identifier to honor Napoleon Lajoie) from 1901 through 1914, the club capitalized on the Braves' timely popularity and has embraced the "Wahoo" image ever since. The offered pennant is very well preserved, with very minimal cracking about the appliqué components (the mascots are especially brilliant). The spine and original tassels are intact, as well. Sewn to the spine’s reverse, a vintage label reads: “MERCHANTS PUBLISHING Co. KALAMAZOO, MICH.” Minor flaws are limited to tiny specs of felt loss (which are confined to the far right corner and top and bottom edges), as well as two tiny holes. This is absolutely among the finest collectibles from the game's early years on the shores of Lake Erie.

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