It's not known for certain how many autographed T206 Ty Cobb cards reside in private collections, but it's safe to say the number is barely into double digits. A rare opportunity, then, presented itself recently when Imperial Sports offered one, signed in Cobb's famous green ink.
The red backed card was consigned by the grandson of the original recipient, a North Carolina man who sent away to Nevada for the Hall of Famer's autograph in 1957. Cobb not only signed the card, but included a note. The items generated 26 bids and sold for $27,600 after opening with a $5,000 minimum.
Among the other items up for bid in Imperial's fall auction were several Hall of Famer autographed items. A rare, single-signed Mel Ott baseball, sold for $14,950. An official American League Babe Ruth autographed baseball, dating to the late 1920s or early 30s, went for the same amount.
A ball dating from Ruth's barnstorming days with Lou Gehrig in 1927 and signed by both Yankee greats, drew 18 bids and a final realized price of $14,375.
Mickey Mantle's 458th home run ball, dating from the 1965 season and accompanied by a letter from the owner, went for $10,350.