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1909-11 T206 Hindu (Red) Ty Cobb Portrait Red PSA VG-EX 4 - One of Only Six Known. ...

2014 May 15 - 17 Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction - Dallas #7105

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Auction Ended On: May 15, 2014
Item Activity: 16 Internet/mail bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

1909-11 T206 Hindu (Red) Ty Cobb Portrait Red PSA VG-EX 4 - One of Only Six Known. As with any occupation, the responsibility to secure cards to satisfy the collecting appetites of passionate hobbyists has it high and lows. Not that sorting a large collection of 1978 Topps baseball doesn't have its merits, it is that one phone call, that one email with the promise of the words "Grandpa's cards" that makes it all worth while. Some newly discovered finds are small, others large. When they are vintage cards going back to the early 20th Century you almost don't care about quantity or even quality. Those are the collections that have the most potential for finding that one 50-carat diamond amid a box or album filled with rubies, emeralds and gem stones. This writer had the privilege of seeing hundreds of previously unknown E254s, T205s and T206s - all passed down through one family for just over a century. This auction catalog is their coming out party. What makes the T206 series so fascinating are the many ways one can collect and amass anywhere from a dozen cards to thousands of cards depending how you choose to savor the landmark issue. What turned this collection from an exciting ride back in time to an adventure Greek poems are made of was, in addition to the numerous HoFers, multiple cards bearing Brown and Red "Hindu Cigarettes" backs. That is what sets "The Monster" apart from all others - a thrilling afternoon at the office can be had looking at the backs of baseball cards. The cards came arranged by team. Upon getting to the players from Detroit was a selection of five Ty Cobb cards. That alone was enough to satisfy my needs. It was turning that 9-pocket page over that introduced me to one of the rarest front/back T206 combinations known - the Ty Cobb Red Portrait with a glorious "Hindu Cigarettes" reverse in matching vibrant red ink! Just how rare is this combo is surprising when you look at census numbers. While there's little dispute that the Wagner T206 inhabits the throne as king of the card-collecting world, the presented Cobb variety makes the Dutchman's 50-60 specimens seem downright common by comparison. Though the red background portrait is the most plentiful of the four Cobb variants within the set, there are eleven examples of the extraordinarily scarce "Ty Cobb, King of the Smoking Tobacco World" advertising back, PSA and SGC census combined. That elevates the presented specimen into the most rarified of collecting air as SGC has yet to review a single Hindu Cobb and PSA confirms a mere half dozen cards exist. There certainly may be another one or two others but wild thoughts of doubling of current population is conjecture in the extreme.

Graded PSA VG-EX 4, this is the highest grade of record and shares its royal title with one other. "Brand new" will be a term left to E98s for now but truthfully, this is a good-looking card. Colors are very strong. Centering is close to perfect. The white frame only mildly affected by spot discoloration. Corners show some consistent wear and a quick flip reveals a clean back and oh, yes, that striking red Hindu ad. The final stars aligned with Cobb's now iconic portrait perfectly registered. It is the prototype for the mid-grade card, until you get to the Hindu ad, then you realize just what an astounding find this is. The hobby now has another example to enjoy of one of the most significant T206 subjects paired with one of the more rare backs. This is a card that once procured does not become available in the foreseeable future.

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