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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/20/2013

     Presented is one of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in the entire hobby – the Ty Cobb red background with Ty Cobb tobacco reverse. It is not only one of the rarest (with about 12 known examples), but it is also one of the hobby’s most popular cards and is extremely desirable by advanced collectors. Not only was Ty Cobb one of the greatest baseball players on the field, he was perhaps one of, if not the greatest, businessman off the field. Living in Georgia, Cobb became familiar with a new company which made carbonated beverages. Cobb invested heavily in Coca-Cola, and amassed a vast fortune. Cobb endorsed chewing gum, supplements, overcoats, suspenders and even underwear! Cobb also was the first player with an endorsement contract for Hillerich & Bradsby baseball bats. One other product, widely consumed in that day, was tobacco. Tobacco was everywhere and Cobb was no stranger to the product. According to Charles C. Alexander’s biography on Cobb, “Not only did he (Cobb) endorse cigars and cigarettes; he also, according to one observer, ‘smokes more different brands of tobacco than most men ever heard of.’”  And he knew when a good money making opportunity was available.

     We do not know exactly how it began, but imagine a small, obscure tobacco company which produces tin tobacco wanting to boost sales of their product. They approach Cobb with the idea of his OWN BRAND of tobacco, it was no doubt the business nature and ego of Cobb couldn’t say no and he likely pounced on this opportunity. He already had four cards in the monster American Tobacco Co. set, so why not another offering, especially if the money is right? This new tobacco company was appropriately titled “Ty Cobb,” it was “King of the Smoking Tobacco World,” and this advertising slogan adorned the reverse of the new cards. This loose tobacco was sold in tins, and into each of these tins was “plugged” a Ty Cobb baseball card. These cards were similar to the regular T206 version of a few years earlier, except for the reverse and a slight glossy surface to the front. Presented here is one of those Ty Cobb T206 cards with the “Ty Cobb” reverse. It is interesting how the print on the reverse is green, the preferred color ink Cobb used when penning letters and autographs. We do not believe this was a coincidence. This one has been PSA Graded PR 1, and by that grading service’s standards, and is every bit deserving of that assigned grade. This example has multiple creases and evenly worn corners. And despite two of the creases intersecting Cobb image, they do not affect the attractiveness which this card exudes. The imaged portrait of Cobb is crisp with perfect resolution, and the deep, bold colors are intense. You can clearly see the wisps of gold in Cobb’s hair, the rosy color of his cheeks and the piercing blue eyes intent on doing damage on the field. The reverse is clean, with all lettering completely readable. There is very little staining on this card, an amazing occurrence considering the cards were packaged with dark, loose tobacco. On the “eye appeal” grading range, this example is much higher than the technical grade.

     The Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb reverse is one of the rarest cards in the hobby, and there are about a dozen known examples of the extremely desirable card. Why are they so rare? Our research links the Ty Cobb tobacco brand with the F. R. Penn tobacco company. F. R. Penn had recently been purchased by The American Tobacco Company (trust) which was subsequently broken up in a land mark anti-trust case shortly after the acquisition after this new brand of tobacco emerged. This could likely be the reason for the extreme rarity of cards from what should have been the most popular brand of tobacco on store shelves. Can you imagine picking any package of tobacco instead of one bearing Ty Cobb's likeness? Seems pretty difficult to imagine! The very small window of time between the acquisition of the "Ty Cobb" brand and the break up of the American Tobacco trust may be the very reason that this card is one of the rarest of specimens that emerged from the explosively popular campaign that brought us the most popular and collected series of cards which was produced in that era.
    While we are in no way attempting to diminish the  aura and desirability of "The Holy Grail" of Baseball card collecting which is the T206 Honus Wagner we do feel compelled to point out the relative scarcity of this offered Ty Cobb with the Ty Cobb back. PSA has authenticated and encapsulated 34 examples of the famed Wagner card while, to date, they have only encapsulated five examples of this much coveted card. PSA Graded PR 1.

T206 White Border Ty Cobb with "Ty Cobb" Back PSA PR 1
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $25,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $117,498.38
Number Bids: 16
Auction closed on Saturday, July 20, 2013.
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