October 2009 Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/7/2009
Behold! One of the five finest 1914 Cracker Jack "Shoeless Joe" Jackson specimens in the hobby! Look with wonder at an image of such staggering visual proportions, so immense in its precision and uncommon in its contrast, that it undeniably approaches the surreality of the sweetest imaginable dreams! Shield your eyes from a backdrop so infused with such a thoroughly bright and fiery scarlet complexion that one sees red wherever he looks after even just a sideglance at this rousing relic of the dead-ball era! Issued in 1914, this card, like all 1914 Cracker Jacks, came into the world in direct contact with "The Famous Popcorn Confection" with which it was issued. Incredible, but true! To that end, some extremely faint traces of caramel can be observed along the top and bottom borders of the obverse and around the periphery of the back surface as well. Considering its distribution method, however, these largely unobtrusive echoes of its sugar-coated nativity are perfectly characteristic of the issue and serve the onlooker with a subtle reminder of its origin. Corners show extremely minor blunting at the very tips of each apex but the bottom right, which still appears MINT. The edges, on the other hand, appear thoroughly MINT throughout, so much so that one might even call them GEM MINT! Perfectly centered on the back with no significantly apparent print imperfections, and nearly as perfect on the front save for the subtlest imaginable clockwise tilt. Please note, however, that this quality is so characteristic of both the 1914 and 1915 CJ issues that both leading grading companies, SGC and PSA, routinely grade MINT 9 examples showing much more pronounced tilt than the faint lean evidenced here. In short, a shoe-in for vastly superior NM/MT 8 or perhaps even better consideration if not for its light and self-evident traces of caramel. And this is really saying something when one looks at the population distribution for the issue. SGC reports a total of just 13 copies on record, with the offered specimen showing 1 competitor in its advanced class and just 1 higher. PSA reports a total of 21 copies on record, likewise with just 1 competitor in the NM 7 tier and 1 higher in the NM/MT 8 class. So that's 3 total copies known at NM 7 level, 1 copy at the NM/MT 8 level, and 1 legendary example in the SGC 98 GEM MINT tier, the pride of one of our hobby's most prolific collectors who sadly passed away this year, may he rest in peace, and largely believed by most dealers and collectors to be the hobby's next $1 million card. Presented here, therefore, is not only 1 of the top 5 examples of, arguably, our hobby's 2nd most famous baseball card, but it may very well be among the top 3--the finest of the 3 known NM 7s--given its staggering visual dimensions and strong NM/MT or better qualities in every scrutable facet but for its subtly candy-coated periphery. More impressive than these convincing popular statistics, however, I am drawn once again, and again and again, back to the image. Here, in the mesmerizing succinctness of Jackson's facial details, is a textbook illustration of what we mean we talk about the "powdery" visual effect of high-grade Cracker Jacks. An image that takes on the appearance of a true etching! An essentially perfect image of the greatest raw talent in the history of the game and arguably one of the most tragic figures on all of American popular culture. Very highly recommended.
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