It was a case of “the older the better” early Saturday morning as Goodwin & Company’s latest Masterpieces and Uncommon Common auction came to a close. Numerous cards dating back 100 years or more brought the biggest prices including a rare 19th century cabinet card and a possibly one-of-a-kind version of a 1910 Ty Cobb issue.
At the top of the bidding for the St. Louis-based auction house was an 1888-89 Old Judge Cabinet card of Mike King Kelly. Bearing an impressive SGC 82 grade (EX/NM+), the oversized rarity sold for $32,040. One of only 14 known examples in existence, the card is a studio image and features the colorful Hall of Famer wielding a bat.
Old Judge cabinets were the redemption cards of their day, having been offered to smokers who sent in what amounted to proofs of purchase. As such, they are exceptionally scarce.
You may know the T206 Honus Wagner, but the Carl Horner Studios image used to produce that iconic card was used much earlier. In 1905, The Sporting Life produced oversized cards for its readers and Wagner’s portrait in that famous Pittsburgh uniform was included in the set. One of fewer than 15 known copies sold in the auction for $20,551 in an SGC 50 holder.
The Cabinet card of Wagner appears to still be undervalued when compared to selling prices for the T206. There are four W600 cards are currently on eBay including a Wagner.
Another rarity offered was a 1910 E98 Ty Cobb. Graded SGC 40, the card bears an “Old Put Cigars” purple stamp manually applied to the back. Only a single known example exists for virtually all of the possible 30 players in the set including the Cobb. Goodwin’s offered example sold for $14,389
A pair of Babe Ruth cards brought out bidders on the 100th anniversary of his big league debut. A 1933 Goudey #53 graded SGC 86 (near mint plus) sold for $21,883 while a 1932 US Caramel, also graded 86 sold for $19,893.