Here’s one for the hobby history books.
An eighth copy of the rare 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back baseball card has been located by the same family from a rural southern town that discovered “The Lucky 7 Find” of rare Cobb cards in 2016. Incredibly, exactly two years after the initial finding comes another Cobb specimen with its ultra-rare “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World” card back. It arrived at PSA headquarters this past week for grading and received a mark of PSA 2 (Good).
The earlier seven Cobbs were sold by MINT State, a PSA-authorized dealer in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on behalf of the family for approximately $3 million through direct sales. Their grades ranged from PSA FR 1.5 to VG-EX + 4.5 with four graded PSA Good + 2.5 and one PSA VG + 3.5. Based on the amounts realized in the previous sales, this most recent addition could bring as much as $250,000. Regardless, the family has decided to retain it as a keepsake. At least for now.
“The family’s intent is to keep this latest addition as a memento,” said Rick Snyder, owner of MINT State, who initially reviewed the cards before submitting each of them to PSA for authentication and grading. “It’s a family heirloom that reminds them of an event that changed their lives forever.”
The original seven cards were unearthed while the family, who still wishes to remain anonymous, was sifting through the contents of their late great grandparent’s home. The cards were found in a torn paper bag that was on the floor. Initially, they thought the bag was trash but after looking at other things found in the house, they were drawn back to the paper bag. Once it was opened, they realized there were aged post cards and other types of cards inside. At the bottom of the bag, face down, were the seven coveted Cobb cards.
According to PSA, the eighth card was discovered during a “second phase” of the original clearing out process, amid items that included clothing, eyeglasses, makeup, and several tobacco tins. The card was lying between two books inside an old dusty box. The family eventually submitted the card to PSA, where it was recently graded and holdered.
Family members released a statement through MINT State, reading, “We are incredibly blessed and grateful to have found another card. This is unbelievable. We would have never thought this would happen once, much less twice. It is an incredible feeling.”
According to PSA President Joe Orlando, the newly discovered card’s eye appeal exceeds the technical grade. “The color in the background is rich and striking just as it was on the first seven Cobb cards,” he said. “The name ‘The Lucky 7 Legacy’ was added to its PSA label so the connection to the original find was clear to the hobby, while still distinguishing it from the initial group.
The T206 White Border set, affectionately known as “The Monster,” is not only the premier set of the tobacco-card era, it is indisputably the most collected and valuable baseball card set ever issued. Perhaps best known for its inclusion of the “Holy Grail” of sports card collecting, the iconic Honus Wagner card, the T206 set contains 525 different cards with 16 tobacco brand advertisement backs. The rarest ad back – and by a considerable margin – is the “Ty Cobb” reverse design which proclaims Cobb to be the “King of the Smoking Tobacco World.” Found only on the reverse of the slightly glossier Ty Cobb red background portrait variety, one of four Cobb cards in the T206 set, the “Ty Cobb” back is by far the rarest of the 16 tobacco brand backs that had only 15 known examples as late as February 2016. That all changed with the discovery of “The Lucky 7 Find.” Today, thanks to “The Lucky 7 Legacy” discovery, that number has now grown to 24. Even with the recent discoveries included, the Cobb card remains clearly tougher to find than the Wagner.