October 2019 Auction
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 10/11/2019
Well over a century has come and gone since the introduction of the legendary T206 tobacco series, recognized as the pinnacle of all baseball card issues, and the collection remains shrouded in mystery with new variations still being found to this day. With its 524 different player images completely or partially distributed among 16 tobacco ad backs and three known print runs, it’s estimated that over 5,700 unique cards exist with about 90% of that list confirmed. Baseball historians have made a career of studying the T206 series, creating checklists of known examples and matching each player and pose to the various ad backs and factory runs. Collectors have created their own subsets, some of which are exclusively Hall of Famers, Southern Leaguers, portrait poses, a complete checklist of a specific ad back or the entire ad back collection of one specific card. Of course, there are the “big four” cards: Honus Wagner, Eddie Plank, Joe Doyle error and Sherry Magee error, examples so difficult or unattainable that most consider the set complete without them. Ah, but rising above all of the errors, variations, and difficult ad backs is one example so insanely elusive that it doesn’t even get mentioned with the T206 set; the red background Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb tobacco reverse. As the only issue with a Ty Cobb tobacco reverse, there’s a debate over whether the “Cobb/Cobb” should even be considered part of the T206 series or a special premium with its own designation. Other than a slightly glossy surface and the unique reverse, it’s every bit identical to the red Cobb in the T206 series and is listed in the standard catalog as a T206, though it does get a special section under “1909-11 Ty Cobb Tobacco (T206).” As many collectors know, Hall of Famer Ty Cobb was every bit as successful a businessman as he was a ballplayer and enjoyed a life of great success and wealth long after his playing days were over, investing in stocks, bonds and real estate in addition to being a major stockholder in the Coca Cola Company. And while “The Georgia Peach” was never known to indulge in tobacco products personally, he did see a lucrative opportunity to cash in on the smoking craze after observing how the American Tobacco Company used the inclusion of baseball cards into packs of their products to boost sales. Cobb launched his own company, but instead of cigarettes, his “Ty Cobb Cut Plug” brand featured shredded tobacco used for pipes or for those who preferred to roll their own smokes. OK, this is where the story gets a little blurry. What we know is that there exists a very small number of Ty Cobb Red Background cards with a reverse that says “Ty Cobb - King of the Smoking Tobacco World.” The glossy surface that is absent on all other T206 cards suggests that they were likely inserted inside the tin and the coating was to prevent staining from direct contact with the tobacco.. But if that was the case, why wouldn’t more of them exist? Was the product regionally distributed, most likely in the Georgia area from where Cobb lived, and sold so poorly that it was quickly discontinued? Were they randomly and sparingly inserted as a special prize akin to Willy Wonka’s “Golden Ticket?” We will likely never have the answer to those questions; we only know that 10 surviving examples were known to exist until five more were discovered in the possession of a man in Georgia in 1997. Then one day in February of 2016, that all changed and opened up even more questions about this mysterious issue. A family in the deep south was going their great-grandfather’s possessions and stumbled across some old postcards, tobacco tins and a torn paper bag. Inside the bag were seven Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back cards, immediately increasing the number of known specimens by almost 50%. Although known throughout baseball card circles as “The Lucky 7 Find,” the moniker proved to be inaccurate when the family discovered an eighth Cobb/Cobb sandwiched between two books years later. The current population of the Cobb/Cobb now stands at or about 23, still nearly three times more scarce than the T206 Wagner. How does over half of the known Cobb/Cobb cards end up in the possession of just two parties? Again, no one knows. The featured example is not only the finest of the “The Lucky 7” specimens but stands alone as the highest graded of all Cobb/Cobb cards known. And while it might seem cliche and self-serving to say the card presents even better than the grade suggests, it does! The primary reason why no other example can match this PSA 4.5 masterpiece is due to the glossy surface. While not nearly as prominent as the shiny coating that is the hallmark of the T207 brown background series, the surface is still subject to the same blemishes and micro-cracking, almost impossible to see with the naked eye but observable enough under magnification to affect the overall technical grade. From an observer’s standpoint, the card presents at least a half-grade to a full grade higher, with the gloss serving to intensify the contrast of the deep red backdrop with the nearly bone-white borders, positioned as to display virtually perfect centering. Each corner exhibits slight rounding and enamel loss under the loupe but offers a sharper than the grade appearance all the way around the perimeter. Each of the edges has extremely light wear commensurate with a slightly higher grade, showing little more than the mild cracking that comes from the light layer of gloss. The reverse proudly proclaims, in alluring green ink, the solitary phase attributed to the Ty Cobb tobacco brand with “Factory No. 33 - 4, Dist. of N. C.” below on a gently toned surface that exhibits some light but expected age spotting, in no way curbing the overwhelming majesty of the card, a true ambassador to the 150+ year history of baseball card manufacturing. Quite simply, it’s the finest example of one of the rarest cards known to exist, a true museum-quality piece whose sui generis transcends even that of the T206 Wagner, the capstone of the sports card collecting world.
1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb Ty Cobb Back PSA 4.5 VG/EX+ The Highest Graded Example from the Lucky 7 Find
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $200,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids: 28
Auction closed on Friday, October 11, 2019.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items