A newly discovered T206 Ty Cobb with an ultra-rare Broad Leaf 460 advertising back has been authenticated and will be offered for sale in Robert Edward Auctions’ Spring Catalog.
Found some time ago along with some other tobacco-related paper items and advertising by an antique/junk hunter in western New York who collects old telephones, the card is expected to bring $50,000 or more. It is just the second Cobb card with a Broad Leaf Tobacco ad on the back known to exist and the first ever to come to public auction. The “red background portrait” Cobb been rated 10 (Poor) by SGC because of significant creasing and wear but its mere existence will undoubtedly excite passionate collectors of the hobby’s most famous pre-War card set.
Broad Leaf 460 backs are among the rarest of the 39 different back variations in the T206 set. Even common players are highly desirable and valuable. There are only 79 examples with a Broad Leaf 460 back on the PSA and SGC population reports.
According to REA, the consignor isn’t an avid card collector but did accumulate about 40 pre-War cards over the years including another T206 Cobb. He recently put the Broad Leaf card on eBay and bidding reached $5,000 before he opted to end the auction after being inundated with offers and questions about its origin from avid (and some skeptical) T206 collectors.
“He decided to post the card for sale because he had two of the red background Ty Cobb cards, the worst condition of which was the Broad Leaf 460,” explained REA President Brian Dwyer. “The other, a Cycle 350, is also in this auction. He was unaware of the different advertising backs and how they affect value, so in his mind, he was selling the worse of the two.”
Upon inspection by vintage card experts at REA, it became clear the card wasn’t a fake. It was turned over to SGC which confirmed the card’s pedigree was genuine.
“We’ve seen in recent years that cards can come from the most surprising places,” Dwyer told Sports Collectors Daily. “The Black Swamp Find was sitting in an attic, perfectly preserved, for decades. The Lucky 7 Find was hidden almost among the trash–and then the family found an eighth example years later. This is a miracle card and one that we think will excite a lot of collectors.”
The internet-only section of REA’s auction will feature the balance of the consignor’s collection, which includes his Cycle back Cobb, some Buffalo-area Brunner’s Bread cards, E104 Nadjas, assorted caramel and tobacco cards, and seven different T207 Broad Leaf cards.
The Cobb card will be on display at REA’s booth next weekend (April 6-8) at the Chantilly, VA show. It will also be available for inspection in person by appointment at their New Jersey office for the duration of the auction (April 13-May 6).