Tucked in a private collection and apparently unknown to the hobby at large, the earliest known Ty Cob bat—one dating to the earliest moments of Ty Cobb’s major league career—is now on the market.
Grey Flannel Auctions is offering the bat in its just launched holiday auction. Dating to Cobb’s 1905 rookie season, it stands as the earliest known Cobb bat to ever be offered.
The “vault” bat is one that was apparently shipped back to Hillerich & Bradsby, the Louisville bat maker to use as a model for the creation of additional Cobb bats. PSA/DNA rated the bat GU 10, the highest possible grade.
The bat has apparently been sitting in a private collection for decades. According to the auction house, it came from the estate of an older, longtime collector who recently passed away.
The bat shows evidence of of use with a slight crack on the upper handle, ball marks on the right and back barrel and cleat marks on all sides of the upper barrel. Areas on the left, right and back barrel have been lightly planed to receive factory side writing and additional factory notations. It comes with a full authentication report from PSA/DNA.
Grey Flannel believes the bat “has the potential to be the hobby’s most expensive bat ever sold at public auction.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the high bid was over $161,000 with 18 days remaining in the auction.
Other items in the catalog include an early 1920s Babe Ruth bat (PSA/DNA GU 8.5 PSA 9), a well preserved autographed Ruth baseball with a blue steel-tip fountain pen signature on the sweet spot, an early 1960s Roger Maris jersey and a Joe DiMaggio Yankees cap gifted to the consignor’s grandparents who were friendly with the DiMaggio family.
“Joe DiMaggio was invited to many dinner parties hosted by our consignor’s family member who was a bank executive in Hollywood,” the company writes in the auction description. “Over the years they became quite friendly and DiMaggio gifted them this cap as a ‘thank you’ for hosting the parties. The cap is being offered publicly for the first time.”
Auction bidding will close on Sunday, November 13.