Long before Muhammad Ali’s meteoric rise to fame as a proud black athlete, Heavyweight legend Jack Johnson set a telling precedent, establishing himself in an even brasher demeanor than his Louisville-born successor. This vintage broadside was issued in 1909, shortly after Johnson’s claim as the first-ever black Heavyweight Champion. Printed on thick stock by Brandt & Scheible. The poster portrays Johnson in a boxing pose and is accented by likenesses of his Galveston, Texas log cabin birthplace and Johnson in his automobile. Presents beautifully.
With minor, nearly indiscernible creases and edge fissures, this one presents far superior to other examples we’ve seen. For the sake of accuracy, we report that there are (6) transparent tape strips (four on the reverse and two on the lower front border) and minor paper loss confined to the lower front border. This rare “Sweet Science” treasure, however, maintains its crisp imagery of a man far, far ahead of his time. Regarding the image of Johnson in his automobile (a luxury at the time), one can’t help but recall the tale of Johnson getting a speeding ticket. Learning that the police officer was charging $50 (a steep sum in that era), Johnson handed over a $100 bill. When told by the officer that he couldn’t make change for such a large bill, Johnson told him to keep it, as he planned on driving “just as fast” on his return trip.