A century ago, they were a must for a man who didn’t want to be seen wearing droopy socks. Yes, garters have not always been associated with the female gender. Avid vintage baseball card collectors know the term well. The product is associated with one of the rarest, most valuable sets ever issued. Now, the best of only 19 examples from the entire known set of 12 is on its way to the auction block where it’s expected to fetch $200,000 or more.
Heritage Auctions will offer a 1914 Boston Garter Joe Jackson graded 70 (5.5) by SGC in its February Platinum Night Auction. It’s one of only three known examples of Jackson in the hobby.
The George Frost Company sold the Boston-branded garters through clothing stores and distributed the colorful, oversized cards in the manner of one per 12-count box. They were meant to be used as store window advertising to attract sports-loving male customers but even at the time there was a collecting aspect. Retailers could write to the company and request the other cards in an effort to complete the set.
1914 Boston Garters measure 4 x 8 1/4″, making them among the larger trading card-oriented products of the era.
In addition to Jackson, the set includes Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank “Home Run” Baker, Rabbit Maranville, Burt Shotton, Larry Doyle, Buck Herzog and Ed Konetchy. Few of the 19 have come to auction in recent years and those that do, typically induce a bidding war. A low-grade Jackson sold for $66,000 at auction in 2016.
The company issued a similar set in 1912 that included Christy Mathewson and a third set that featured actual photographs rather than player illustrations.
Bidding for the Jackson is expected to open February 1 with the auction closing over two nights three weeks later.