A new find of well-loved original Cracker Jack baseball cards is about to enter the hobby, a cache tucked away in the possessions of the same family since they were pulled from boxes more than a century ago.
New Jersey-based Just Collect recently completed the purchase of the collection, which consists of 130 cards from Cracker Jack’s famed 1914 and 1915 sets and will offer them at auction once they’ve returned from grading and authentication.
Just Collect’s Leighton Sheldon tells us it’s one of the largest collections of Cracker Jack cards his company has ever acquired.
Fortunately, the story behind the collection was also passed down through the family.
Fenway Park was still new and the National League Braves were also moving into new digs when he seller’s great-grandfather, then a young man growing up in Boston, would attend as many baseball games as possible. Inside the park, the kid known as “Mutt” to his family and friends would buy Cracker Jack boxes and save the cards. He would add to his collection by picking up empty boxes to see if the owner had left the prize inside.
Unfortunately for today’s hobbyists who prefer higher-grade examples, Mutt used a writing instrument to record player movement and position changes on the cards. Notches were cut out of some as part of a tabletop baseball game he invented that made use of those little cardboard squares that decades later would become highly valuable antiques. Yet even off-grade examples of 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack cards are highly desirable and the collection includes numerous Hall of Famers such as Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Eddie Plank, Tris Speaker and Eddie Collins. There’s also a rare 1914 Del Pratt card in the collection, fewer than 25 examples of which have been registered by grading companies.
Notably, the Johnson card wasn’t defaced because of Mutt’s devotion to the great pitcher.
You can check out the collection in the video below.
The cards were handed down through the family and have been in protective pages for the last 30 years.
They’ll be offered through Just Collect’s eBay store some time early next year.