The best known example of the tin that held Ty Cobb brand tobacco more than a century ago—and maybe one of the ultra-scarce T206 Cobb cards– is on the auction block.
The gold-topped tin, complete with the original tax stamp still attached, could sell for a six-figure price when bidding ends next month. The tin last sold in 2012 for over $88,000.
The tin is one of only about a dozen known to exist, but the difference between the other known Cobb tins and the one being sold by Heritage Auctions is the remarkable preservation of what is now a century-old piece so susceptible to damage and rust. It’s among the featured items in the second part of the David Hall T206 Collection auction. The current high bid as of Thursday evening was $25,000 with the auction schedule to run through September 19.
The top of the 3″ x 5″ x 1″ tin remains bright gold in color, the box retains its original shape and overall wear is very mild. The front calls the early 20th century superstar “King of the Smoking Tobacco World”. The paper tax stamp remains firmly attached, featuring an image of John Quincy Adams. It is the only known Cobb tobacco tin with the stamp still attached.
Some collectors have theorized that the T206 Cobb cards with the Cobb Tobacco advertising back are associated with the tin with perhaps one card issued inside each. The tin is the only one of numerous baseball-related tins from the era that may be directly connected with a tobacco card issue.
The tin once held ‘plug tobacco’ which was bitten or cut into sections by the user. It’s believed Cobb Tobacco was meant for pipe smoking. The Cobb brand apparently never grew traction, however, hence the scarcity of both the tin and the T206 Cobb back cards. Even with the recent “Lucky 7 Find,” fewer than two dozen Cobb Tobacco T206 cards are known to exist.
The front image of the tin shows Cobb in a batting pose and is considered to be the same as the one that adorns one of his other cards in the T206 set.