Unlike the first set issued in 1914 when the cards were only distributed one at a time inside boxes of the country’s new snack sensation, the 1915 Cracker Jack set could be ordered through a mail-in offer. Both sets are very popular today but most of the attractive, higher grade cards that survive today come from the 1915 set.
One of the best of the best on the PSA Population report is coming to auction next month. Heritage Auctions will offer one of the three PSA 9 1915 Cracker Jack Ty Cobb cards in its June Premium Sports Card Catalog Auction. It could sell for $300,000 or more.
Despite a far better chance of finding surviving mint examples from the 1915 set, landing one is still a limited proposition, especially an icon. PSA has graded over 12,000 1915 Cracker Jack cards—about three times as many as they have from the ’14 set—but only 303 are straight 9s. The Cobb being offered by Heritage is one of only three graded mint 9 (none higher). In fact, only 12 Cobbs have been rated 8 or 8.5. Just 117 1915 Cobb cards have been graded by PSA in all.
“Noted as a marvel for speed and batting,” notes a brief biography on the card back. That was putting it mildly. In his prime when this card was issued, the 28-year-old Cobb had one of his finest individual seasons. He won his ninth consecutive batting championship with a .369 average and stole 96 bases, setting a new single-season record that would stand until Maury Wills broke it in 1962.