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Old 10-10-2017, 05:56 PM
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Default Family Finds $150,000 Ty Cobb Card In Sock Drawer
After my beloved father passed in 2005, my brother and I cleaned out his sock drawer where we found a container of old quarters and New York City subway tokens. I can only envy one Georgia family. While sorting through their late father’s sock drawer they discovered the most amazing matchbox on earth.

Tucked inside was a super rare and valuable, circa 1910, Ty Cobb tobacco card advertising the Cobb tobacco brand on its back. There was also a trove of ten other Hall of Famers from the same era. The Cobb, though graded in poor condition, may well command $150,000 in an SCP Auction opening on October 18.

The Cobb card bears an exact resemblance to the famous T206 set containing the Honus Wagner, except for its back and shiny surface on its front. Just 15 Cobb backs were known to exist until the early spring of 2016 when a collection of Cobbs was found in grades ranging from fair to very-good-to-excellent-plus condition. The world-famous Lucky 7 Find— seven cards unearthed in a crumpled paper bag in an old house in the Southeast—sold for a combined $3 million, with grades ranging from fair to very good to excellent-plus condition. There are now 23 of these Cobbs, compared to roughly 75 Wagners.
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“When Cobb retired in 1928 at age 42, he owned an incredible 90 all-time records,” writes Ron Smith in Heroes of the Hall. “His 12 American League batting titles (nine in succession) and .366 batting career average still top all-time charts.”

The latest discovery in Georgia lends further credence to the theory that his short-lived tobacco brand was sold in Cobb’s home state where all the other cards are believed to have been found. The Georgia Peach’s even rarer tobacco tins have originated there, as well.

Dan Imler, SCP’s Vice President, received the tip about the cards from his company’s email in-box. He responded in a flash and flew the consignor out to SCP’s home office in Laguna Niguel, CA. They drove together a half-hour to Newport Beach where PSA is based to have it graded.

The collector probably acquired the cards in the early 1950s, judging from the typeface on the matchbox.

“The card features greater color and centering,” SCP notes. ”Its primary condition faults include light staining, imperfect registration and scattered light creasing.” PSA reserves custom designations on card holders only for special discoveries. In this case, it dubbed the latest Cobb “The Matchbox Cobb.”

Such good fortune thrilled the family. “They had known their father had some cards, but he wasn’t really much of a collector,” Imler told me. “He picked them up somewhere along the way.”

The casual collector’s great luck extended beyond the Cobb. The second most valuable card found in the matchbox was a Kid Eberfield. Playing primarily for the New York Highlanders in the early 1900s, the shortstop was known as “The Tabasco KId” for his hot temper. The Georgia family’s card carries the extremely rare “Broad Leaf 460 back.” Hardcore T206 collectors pay top dollar for rare backs like this Eberfield. It could fetch from $5,0000 to $8,000.

The 1909-1911 T206 “Monster” set consists of 542 subjects and a lot different variations.“It’s not like a ’55 Topps set,” Imler said. “There are so many nuances on the front and back and printing anomalies. All these nuances are crystalized by the Cobb tobacco brand.”

Meanwhile the Matchbox Find includes two outstanding lots packed with Hall of Famers. The T206s feature Roger Bresnahan who introduced shin guards and developed the batting helmet; Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown who lost two fingers to a farming accident as a boy and exploited his deformity to throw hellacious curve balls; and Miller Huggins, the diminutive Yankees manager who stood up to the much bigger and recalcitrant Babe Ruth.

The rare back advertising the Ty Cobb tobacco brand.
Finally, the Matchbox Find boasts a dozen tobacco cards from one of my all-time favorite sets, the gorgeous T205s with gold-borders. Among them are four Hall of Famers, including second baseman Eddie Collins who began his professional career while still a student at Columbia and hit .333 lifetime Hugh Duffy who set the single-season record for the Boston Beaneaters (aka the Braves) in 1894 with a .440 batting average; and Frank Chance, the Cub’s first baseman immortalized in the "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" poem about the most famous double play combo in history.

Imler prefaced his comments to me by insisting that such fairy tales as the Matchbox Cobb really do come true. Future treasures await families in sock drawers and attics everywhere.

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Old 10-16-2017, 08:20 AM
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That is awesome. Best card i ever owned was a Ted Williams worth about a grand that a gave to my father-in-law for Christmas many moons ago!

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