On the eve of the iconic set’s 100th Anniversary, Love of the Game Auctions has announced that its summer auction features the fourth Current Finest set of 1914 Cracker Jack baseball cards on PSA’s Set Registry. The collection, which is 81% complete, is being offered to bidders in two ways: as a complete set, and individually as singles and smaller lots. The configuration which receives the highest bid total will be the configuration in which the set is sold. The 1914 Cracker Jack set is a monumental challenge for set builders or even those seeking individual cards in better grades.
The lot has pushed its way up to $10,000 in early bidding.
“We’re thrilled to have such a great collection in our fourth auction,” said Auction Director Al Crisafulli. “The Cracker Jack sets are getting a ton of attention lately, mostly due to the approaching 100th anniversary of the set and the release of Tom and Ellen Zappala’s great new book The Cracker Jack Collection. This group of cards is extremely attractive, an unbelievable head start for someone looking to build a set or a great group of upgrades for someone who’s already got one.”
One of the most attractive baseball sets ever produced, the 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack sets feature a color portrait or “action” pose set against a deep, red background. Printed on flimsy paper, the 1914 set is plagued by condition issues and caramel staining due to the cards being inserted directly into Cracker Jack boxes. Loaded with Hall of Famers and deadball era stars, this is among the most popular prewar baseball sets ever produced.
“The collection has been entirely graded by PSA, with grades ranging from 1 to 6,” explained Crisafulli. “Most of the cards weren’t collected based on their numerical grade, but their eye appeal. Many of them look fantastic, but the technical grades have been reduced by the caramel staining that is so common with this issue.”
The collection is missing just 27 cards for completion, among them the scarce Christy Mathewson, Joe Jackson, Del Pratt and Ty Cobb cards (the Pratt is available as a separate lot in the auction). Still, the 1914 set is so difficult to finish that just three complete sets exist on the PSA “Current Finest” list, with this group being the closest to completion.
“More than 20 Hall of Famers are represented in this group,” continued Crisafulli, “as well as many of prewar baseball’s big names like Smoky Joe Wood, Chick Gandil and Eddie Cicotte. Since we’ve already got a large group of 1915 Cracker Jacks from the Full Count Find, this auction features at least one card of almost every player featured in the Cracker Jack sets.”
Open for bidding now, Love of the Game’s summer auction is slated to run through August, closing on Saturday, August 24. Interested collectors can register to bid on the company’s website. Check out the photo gallery below.