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Erwin G "CANNON BALL" Baker Personal Signed Correspondence Letter & Other Historic Ephemera

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I have available a signed personal letter from Cannon Ball Baker, the legendary race driver, speed-distance record holder and first Nascar Commissioner. The letter was written late in his life and is signed with the nickname it seems he went by with friends and colleagues, 'Bake'. The content of the letter is absolutely extraordinary and references Nascar, patents and Baker's career ambitions - he would have been around 70 when this was written! I've taken close up photos for content to be readable. The last paragraph is particularly interesting.

These items originate from the estate of Jim Watson, an executive with Franklin, Chrysler, Oldsmobile and Nash who apparently worked with Baker and was apparently personal friend throughout his entire career (though the letter does hint to some falling out).

Also available:

- A letter from a Chrysler Sales Promotion Manager dated 1931 which discusses “stone walls” from Chrysler leadership regarding contracting Baker for a speed record run. The letter is marked confidential and references meetings with “Mr Chrysler”. Heavy insect damage around the edges but amazing it exists

- A telegram sent by Baker to Watson (undated but likely 20’s or 30’s) requesting a phone call (poor condition)

- A 1947 Nash company memo detailing a publicity tour Cannon Ball Baker took to various dealerships and company events

- A draft of a letter dated 1928 that Jim Watson would have sent to Baker requesting him to re-schedule a record run attempt which was cancelled

- A personal Christmas card from Baker, which is not signed or dated, unpersonalized and actually pretty depressing.

- A large stack of brochures, photos, clippings, dealer memos, etc referencing Baker from the 1930s to 1950s. Most of these are pretty badly water damaged unfortunately.

I'm not sure whether I want to sell these items but am posting here to gauge interest and share the content with enthusiasts or historians. I have absolutely no idea how to value these items as they are truly one of a kind.

Please feel free to direct message if you would like to make an offer for consideration on any of these pieces. I'm happy to provide more photos as well.





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Hi Dale,

No offense taken. To clarify, I buy, sell and collect mostly manufacturer's sales brochures, manuals and similar items. While sometimes quite rare, these types of items were mass produced and it's usually easy to value them based on past sales of the same or similar item. The correspondence listed is signed by Baker and the letter, and other pieces, have very historic / unique content unlike anything I've seen before. I have not been able to locate anything comparable related to Baker. As a result, this is well outside my normal field of collecting / selling and I truly don't know how to value these. Again, I'm open to considering offers or otherwise happy to share the content with anyone interested.


Your name indicates YOU should have some idea of price

Nothing personal,

Dale in Indy

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What you have is from the era when Cannonball's glory days were over. If you had something relating to the era when he got his nickname , as in racing cross country on Indians and NeraCars etc. with photos then it would be worth money . But maybe not as much as you would like to think. I have TONS of original bike and car literature and photos with letters to go along from the famous Wells Bennett , 3 flags record holder on Hendersons, and even an original photo of Louis Chevrolet in a race car readied for a Paris race with info written on the back. I also have lots of Putt Mossman and others. Buyers for this sort of thing are few and far between. Just my experience. My observations are that the number of collectors of original historic literature ( motorcycle anyway) has taken a precipitous decline in the last 10-15 years. It might have to do with the extinction of the baby boomers.

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