October 2011
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/21/2011
Imagine the thrill the discovery of something like the presented 1907 Sporting Life Ty Cobb rookie baseball card must have inspired, something so rare and beautiful and unusually well-preserved that its discoverer must necessarily have experienced an enlightened "aha" moment upon first encounter. Like love at first sight, she must have known immediately that she had found something extremely special, and 'lo and behold, she is absolutely right. Brand new to the hobby and very recently discovered, Mile High Card Company is thrilled to offer this exceptionally presentable, museum-quality specimen of Ty Cobb's W600 Sporting Life cabinet card, Cobb's absolute scarcest and, without question, most appealing and visually enchanting baseball card from his rookie period of 1905 to 1907. Cobb of course came up in 1905, a cocky 18 year-old whose .240 average in 41 games was enough to earn him a contract for the 1906 season, when he played another 98 games, batting a promising .316, the youngest player in the league by nearly a year. In 1907, the fiery Tiger, now a full 20 years old, recorded his first of 9 two-hundred hit seasons, a record that stood until Ichiro collected his tenth such season (in a row) in 2010. In those first couple seasons, however, Cobb's fire and attitude drew the ire of veterans on the club, whose hazing the Tiger Manager, Hughie Jennings, famously tolerated until Cobb showed he had the "guts" to compete in the American League, which he sure did in 1907, finishing the season with a league-leading .350 average, 212 hits, 118 RBI, and 53 stolen bags, spikes up, the youngest player to ever lead the league in batting (until Al Kaline in 1955). As the Detroit veteran players would no doubt have agreed, the point here is that a rookie is still a rookie after his rookie season, and so what we see on this breathtaking 1907 Sporting Life Ty Cobb cabinet card is indeed Cobb the rookie, fighting for a place on his team, fighting with the veteran players, fighting a fight, in essence, that would famously define the rest of his celebrated career. Upon first inspection, the admiring enthusiast of the Cobb W600 may detect a sense of stoicism, but a closer look reveals a very obvious fire in the eyes of the young cat, or "snarling wildcat" as Cobb often referred to his youthful self, who, in this picture, exudes the focused but distant stare of a man truly possessed, a feature that becomes ever more obvious the finer the image is, the greater the state of preservation. As noted earlier, compared to other Cobb issues from his rookie period of 1905-07, nothing remotely compares. There were no Ty Cobb cards produced in 1905 or 1906, and only a small handful of coveted postcard issues promoted the young and relatively unknown player in 1907, many of which compete for status as Cobb's very first card, his official rookie card. The W600 issue rarely enters this somewhat murky debate, however, because it is simply too rare. With only 3 examples ever reviewed by PSA and SGC combined, realistic total estimates range anywhere from 10 or more known to as few as 5 or 6. Quite literally, there just aren't enough copies for it to gain prominence as anything other than an over-sized scarcity you might (and indeed do) encounter in the Hall of Fame or at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So desperate has the hobby been to establish a rookie card of the great Ty Cobb, however, that many long-time collectors have come to identify Cobb's 1908 E102 Anonymous issue as his true "rookie card." If you identify only standard candy- or tobacco-sized cards as a qualification for "rookie card" status, this would of course make sense. Indeed, generations of collectors have held this view, opining that postcards aren't really "real" baseball cards and that cabinet cards are generally too rare to fit the "baseball card" mold as well. Whatever your opinion, interested bidders should please note that Sporting Life newspaper produced and distributed an unknown checklist of similar cabinet cards depicting Major League baseball players between the years 1902 and 1911, with different players appearing in different years. The cards were available first as a coupon mail order and then later for a dime a piece or a dozen for a buck. There are many reasons why so few examples of any player survive today, various paper drives across the US during both World Wars and the Great Depression foremost among them, but the end result is that they are now celebrated as one of the scarcest and most exquisite and significant baseball card sets ever produced. Cobb appeared in 1907, well before establishing himself as a superstar, and it is one of his very first appearances on cardboard, regardless of its technical or popular status as his rookie card. The reason Cobb is significantly scarcer than other stars from the set, however, is simple; Cobb just wasn't a star yet, and since the total supply of individual W600 cards was driven explicitly by fan request, there weren't very many produced in the first place. In closing, not only is this one of Cobb's most appealing and enchanting cards from his rookie period, but it is also one of the most mesmerizing of all Cobb cards in existence, and, frankly, one of the most magnificent baseball cards ever made. If you haven't already visited our auction online at www.milehighcardco.com, this is an item you absolutely must examine in full size, even in person if you can. Most likely you, too, will experience that same "aha" moment when you super-size the image online. The card is simply stunning to behold, an improbable NM to even NM/MT seeming miracle in almost every regard save primarily for the self-evident break in the card stock in the bottom right field, a relatively mild and unobtrusive imperfection given the glorious state of the remainder of the card. As such, the offered example has been graded PSA 3 VG, but it would certainly not seem out of place in a VG/EX 4 or even EX 5 holder, given the eye of the beholder. So profoundly scarce is this treasured issue, however, that even in its current grade, the offered example rates as the single finest graded copy on record in the hobby. Experience that "aha" moment over and over again with this significant addition to your masterpiece collection.
1907 W600 Sporting Life Cabinet Ty Cobb PSA 3 VG
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $8,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $55,580.14
Number Bids:28
Competitive in-house shipping is not available for this lot.
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