Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XLV
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/16/2012
The achievements of the immortal Ty Cobb easily place him as one of the finest players in our National Pastime’s glorious history, justified by his eternal place as one of baseball’s five 1936 Hall of Fame charter members. Most elite vintage collectors painstakingly seek his most eclectic artifacts, especially his early cardboard relics issued during his first few years in the Major Leagues. Synonymous with virtually every standout ball player, the most sought after card is typically associated with their inaugural Major League season and labeled that players “rookie card”. Unfortunately in Cobb’s case, this is where it gets slightly sketchy since his first appearance on a professional baseball related card was not realized until 1907 and in that calendar year, a significant number of issues were distributed with his hallowed image. Cobb broke into the Major Leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1905, playing in a mere 41 games while hitting a paltry .240. Quickly, Cobb bounced back in 1906 to bat an impressive .316, the first of an unfathomable 23 consecutive years of exceeding the exalted .300 benchmark. Throughout his incomparable 24 seasons, he led the American League a record 12 years in batting average including an incredible 9 consecutive years from 1907 thru 1915! He also happened to exceed the exalted .400 mark three times, with all of the above totaling to an unimaginable .367 lifetime average. After his sterling 1906 season, he stroked 212 hits in 1907, his first full season in which he batted .350. Due to his newly found star status, manufacturers began utilizing his image on various cardboard related products throughout the 1907 season, mainly postcards and the seldom surfacing and ultra valuable W600 Sporting Life Cabinet. Some of the postcard issues include the A.C. Dietsche, Wolverine News, H.M. Taylor, and Novelty Cutlery with all of these issues staking claim (along with the W600 Sporting Life Cabinet) as Cobb’s rookie card.
So which of the above is actually Cobb’s true rookie card? Bottom line is no definitive answer exists since they were all issued during the 1907 season, equally sharing the distinction as being Cobb’s inaugural card. Elite collectors will endlessly argue the point of the timing of each card’s initial release date, but even this angle remains somewhat vague. Therefore, it is the opinion of many advanced collectors that all of the aforementioned cards can stake a viable claim to being the first Ty Cobb Major League issue. One of those postcards, the ultra scarce Novelty Cutlery issue was distributed for 3 years between 1907 and 1909 by the Canton, OH. based Novelty Cutlery Knife Co. Including 26 subjects, like most pre-WWI sets the most desirable subject of this obscure issue is Tyrus Raymond Cobb, and other than the near impossible to find W600 cabinet, this just may be his most coveted 1907 rookie card issue. Presented in a superb SGC 50/4 holder, this offering has only been joined by a meager 2 other examples at this mid-grade plateau with a paltry 2 specimens graded higher on the COMBINED SGC and PSA “census reports! An amazingly stoic Cobb batting pose, strikingly similar to his iconic Cracker Jack illustration, depicts the fiery outfielder in his classic “hand’s apart” batting stance, and you can almost feel the unparalleled intensity radiating from the Georgia Peach. The near pristine like image is centered “dead-on” and situated between four ornate borders that portray super eye pleasing ornate designs. No obtrusive surface flaws are evident on either side, with the technical assessment due to the moderate yet even wear portrayed by all four corners. The un-canceled postcard back reveals some diminutive soiling barely impacting its fine aesthetics. In closing, this is a grand opportunity to capture what is considered by many as one of Cobb’s first Major League issues, and what better copy to purchase than one that has only been bested by a handful of examples!
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