America’s attics and closets continue to surrender long-lost baseball treasures.
A nearly complete set of 1914 Cracker Jack cards, in the possession of the same family since they were pulled from boxes of the famous snack 103 years ago, are now on the auction block.
On the advice of a friend, a third-generation family member from the Chicago area contacted Beckett Grading Services recently, inquiring about the collection that had been passed down through his family but largely forgotten.
It didn’t take long to determine they were the real deal and for 1914 Cracker Jacks, in remarkably good condition.
The collection includes 131 of 144 cards in the set, one that had to be pieced together strictly through Cracker Jack boxes. Unlike the 1915 issue, there was no offer for a complete set. Finding so many in one place is rare indeed.
The cards were all graded and are now in the newly opened auction being conducted by Goodwin and Company. They range in grade from Poor to Excellent, with the typical product stains appearing on many but most have very good eye appeal. Included is the ultra-popular Christy Mathewson (BVG 3 and currently at $25,901), Ty Cobb (BVG 3.5), Joe Jackson (BVG 1.5, primarily because of a small pinhole), Honus Wagner (BVG 3.5) and Walter Johnson (BVG 3.5).
“This is actually the hottest set as far as vintage cards right now. The timing is uncanny. I tried to impress that on the owner. ‘Your timing couldn’t have been any better if you’d known the industry’,” Head Grader Andy Broome told Beckett Radio.
The cards have been labeled “The Chicago Cracker Jack Find.”
Each card is being sold individually and the entire collection will likely fetch well into six figures. The collection included 151 cards in all, including 15 cards from the 1915 set. The owner is said to be thrilled with how valued Cracker Jacks are among collectors of vintage cards.
“I always say with these finds, there’s still stuff to be found,” Broome said. “This sat for 100 years in someone’s house and no one knew. We see a lot of great stuff every day but this is something that really gets us excited. It’s one of those hobby fairy tale stories.”
The auction also includes 23 Babe Ruth cards including a rare 1933 Uncle Jack’s candy card that also includes the original pack and gum remnants and the interior contest promotion coupon. Graded PSA 2 because of a gum stain on the back, the card appears NM/MT on the front.
There is also an ultra-rare 1921 Frederick Foto Ruth, a 1916 Blank Back Ruth rookie (SGC Authentic), a Famous and Barr Ruth rookie (PSA 2), PSA 8 and 7 examples of Mickey Mantle’s 1951 Bowman rookie card, a PSA 7 1952 Topps Mantle, PSA 9 Nolan Ryan and Pete Rose rookie cards and more.
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