Finding old items to auction is nothing new for Jack DeStories of Fairfield Auction. Selling the contents of old homes in part of his business. Sometimes, though, true treasures are discovered and this time, it’s a find that will bring a smile to collectors of vintage baseball cards.
The complete set of 12 cards from Series One (plus one additional card of Hooks Wiltse from Series 2) includes the three most illustrious players of the era: Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson, most in high grade. All of the cards carry the very desirable blue background variation.
“The consignor found the original envelope in the attic of their turn-of-the-century home,” DeStories told Sports Collectors Daily. “When they looked in the envelope they found the cards, untouched since 1911.”
The little brown packet had apparently been left behind by a previous owner, tucked inconspicuously under the eaves; apparently the ultimate vintage pack find.
The cards were sent to PSA for grading with the Cobb rating a 7.5, while Mathewson and Wagner each received a ‘5’ grade.
The Cobb, Wagner and Mathewson are being sold separately but the lot of 10 additional cards includes names like Hughie Jennings, Frank Chance, Eddie Collins, Chief Bender and Hal Chase. Two of those were graded 8 by PSA while the others ranged from 3-5.
Together, the cards are expected to bring well over $10,000, a happy surprise for the Ridgefield, Connecticut couple who owned the home where they were found. The Sporting Life card sets were originally sold for a nickel.
“They knew they had old baseball cards, but couldn’t figure out exactly what kind,” DeStories stated. “So we were just glad they brought them to us. I collected pre-WWII material when I was young so I recognized them right away.”’
The auction opens Wednesday and closes Sunday, November 15.
It’s the second significant high-grade find of 1911 Sporting Life cards brought to auction this year. Last winter, Goldin Auctions sold more than 100 cards from the ongoing series issued by the long defunct publication. Those had been consigned by a Midwest family going.
The cards located in Connecticut are part of a 400-lot auction of various antiques and other items culled from local estates.
The gallery, located at 707 Main Street in Monroe, Connecticut, will be open for preview Friday and Saturday November 6 and 7 from 11am to 4pm and Friday and Saturday November 13 and 14, also from 11am to 4pm.
Bidding takes place on the company’s website.