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New Discovery T206 Ty Cobb back sold for $135,403

Goodwin & Company Auction (April 22, 2010)

The sanctified T206 Honus Wagner card may be the "Hold Grail" of our illustrious hobby, but not even "Hans" can claim ownership of the title "King of the Smoking Tobacco World" with that title solely designated to the immortal Hall of Famer Tyrus Raymond Cobb! The famous 1909 – 1911 T206 Tobacco "Monster Set" included four different Ty Cobb variation front side images with 15 different tobacco related advertisement backs that were available in cardboard cigarette packs. A significant number of hobbyists speculate that, unlike the 15 different brands, the 16th tobacco advertisement backside was only made available in a Ty Cobb brand tobacco tin with the backside typography proclaiming Ty Cobb to be "KING OF THE SMOKING TOBACCO WORLD". Other T206 experts surmise that these cards were not included in tins, but were issued for promotional purposes only, justifying their extreme rarity.

While no definitive proof may ever surface to support either theory, undeniable is the virtual unequivocal scarcity of this immortal specimen. To date, ONLY the red background Carl Horner portrait version of Ty Cobb has been found affixed to the obverse of this ultra rare "Ty Cobb" tobacco advertisement reverse side. How scarce is this Ty Cobb card? Currently, only 5 SGC examples (none graded higher than a "3"), and 2 PSA examples (two "1.5" examples) are listed on these two renowned population reports. Furthermore, most hobby experts agree that there are only 7 or 8 other existing examples (either ungraded or some possibly included in the PSA T206 “Unknown” advertisement back category) for an estimated known total of 14 or 15 examples.

Courtesy of Goodwin and Company, a NEW example has now surfaced after being safely tucked away for many years in a private collection. This super eye pleasing offering has been graded a PSA 1.5 (one of the two aforementioned PSA 1.5 examples) and is now available for one very fortunate enthusiast!

Unquestionably, the aforementioned "pop" data indicates that the Ty Cobb advertisement back tobacco card should command the value associated with the minor league 1910 Joe Jackson and 1914 Babe Ruth cardboard gems, with its rarity far exceeding all of the other sanctified cards including the immortal T206 Wagner! Like the Wagner, this Ty Cobb card’s unparalleled prestige has elevated it to a level such that ANY elite enthusiast, whether a T206 collector or not, yearns to make it their own.

Ty Cobb, undoubtedly, is one of baseball's top five players ever, a charter member of baseball's Hall of Fame, and still owner of the game’s highest lifetime batting average. Along with Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Joe Jackson, his pre-WWI baseball cards are highly sought after by all advanced collectors, and NO Cobb cardboard relic is more exalted than this monumental offering. Like most of the few surviving "Ty Cobb Back" T206's that have surfaced over the past century, a few of this example's technical qualities are synonymous with a lower graded example. However, atypical with this obscure type card are the superior aesthetics far surpassing its technical assessment, starting with an outstanding Ty Cobb portrait pose associated with the renowned photographer Carl Horner. Incredible deep colored facial hues, including breathtaking rosy cheeks, highlight Cobb's iconic pose. The image is set against a virtually flawless robust fire engine red background, and uncharacteristically for the Ty Cobb tobacco brand card and consistent with the standard T206 issue, there is no glossy surface typically evident on a majority of the other known examples (many T206 experts concur this is only the 3rd or approximately 20% of the other Ty Cobb tobacco brand specimens that have been noted NOT to include a glossy like surface). The entire picture well centered between somewhat toned borders, and no major creases or surface blemishes are evident. Four uniformly rounded corners and mild glue residue and/or staining on the reverse side account for the technical grade. Yet, the critical "TY Cobb" reverse side advertisement still portrays bold and vivid typography, clearly reading "TY COBB, KING OF THE SMOKING TOBACCO WORLD". We cannot over emphasize the significance of a nearly pristine obverse Cobb image combined with a legible Ty Cobb advertisement back since a majority of the few surviving examples depict major technical issues with at least one of the card's sides. Almost miraculously, this offering has defied "father time" and retained the visual appeal desired by elite enthusiasts.

Other than the T206 Wagner, the "Ty Cobb Back" T206 just may be the most desirable rarity in the hobby, justified by low grade examples continuing to accumulate record prices in the rare instance one becomes available. Like the T206 Plank, Doyle variation and Magie error, every advanced T206 enthusiast dreams of the notion that this miraculous cardboard offering will eventually find an eternal resting place in their collection. More significantly and similar to the Wagner, there is an unequivocal hype affiliated with this card that has transcended the hobby to a stratospheric level. Keep in mind the peak value cards continue to keep the card collecting circuit in the utmost limelight, and as the above chart indicates, the rarity of this Ty Cobb obscurity far exceeds iconic cardboard gems such as the T206 Wagner and Plank, the 1916 Ruth Rookie, the 1933 Lajoie, and the 1952 Topps Mantle rookie. More impressive is its virtual synonymous scarcity compared to the 1910 Joe Jackson and 1914 Baltimore News Ruth minor league cards that have already fetched well over six figures. More the reason to make this newly found treasure your own before it reaches the potential stratospheric six figure values of its aforementioned piers!

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium: $135,403

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