Akin to finding a needle in a haystack, the same family from the rural south who in 2016 discovered a cache of seven rare T206 Ty Cobb baseball cards has found an eighth. That’s right, PSA is pleased to announce that an elite, eighth copy of the rare 1909-11 T206 Ty Cobb with its unusual Ty Cobb card back has been located by the same family. Incredibly, exactly two years after the initial find comes another Cobb specimen with its ultra-rare “Ty Cobb King of the Smoking Tobacco World” back. It arrived at PSA headquarters last week for grading purposes and received a mark of PSA Good 2 by our team of card experts.
The earlier seven Cobbs were all 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 yield as much as $250,000 at auction. Regardless, the family has decided to retain it as a keepsake. At least for now, that is.
“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 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. Talk about a lucky pull.
The eighth card was discovered several months later after the initial house cleaning was completed, lying between two books inside an old dusty box. According to PSA President Joe Orlando, its eye appeal far 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.
“This just goes to prove that buried treasure still exists in the collectibles world, even well above sea level.”
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 iconic Honus Wagner card, which many consider the “Holy Grail” of sports card collecting, 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.” Another T206 Cobb card, called “The Matchbox Cobb,” was discovered last year by a Georgia family. They were cleaning out their late father’s sock drawer when they found the elusive card inside a matchbox. The card was graded PSA 1 and sold in November of 2017 for $100,000. Today, thanks to “The Lucky 7 Legacy” discovery, that number has now grown to 24.
Even with the recent discoveries included, the Cobb card with Cobb back remains clearly tougher to find than the famed T206 Honus Wagner. For the record, Cobb, a center fielder, collected 12 batting titles during his illustrious career while playing for the Detroit Tigers (1905 to 1926). Wagner, meanwhile, earned eight batting crowns while playing shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900 to 1917).