Rare and Desirable Schmelzer’s Pins Ty Cobb – Newly Graded!

1910 Schmelzers Cobb FrontThe Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods pinback button set is incredibly rare, with only a few dozen examples known of any player, and just five Ty Cobb examples known to exist.  The 1 1/4″ diameter pinback issue is among the most rare of all baseball pinback sets, the first baseball celluloid pinback issue to feature lithographic artwork juxtaposed with an actual player photo.  Produced by the Whitehead & Hoag company (manufacturer of most of the era’s pinbacks) and issued by Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods of Kansas City, MO, these pinbacks are unbelievably rare, and extremely desirable among the hobby’s most advanced collectors.

Much has been stated in the past with respect to the rarity of the Schmelzer’s pinback issue in relation to any baseball card issue of the same era.  The pins are so rare that until this past Spring, just eight different subjects were known to exist – and then two more were found (Johnny Evers and George Stallings).  Today, only one complete set is known to exist, with only one known example of the Evers and Stallings.  With just ten subjects known (one for each position plus a manager), the “team” includes four Hall of Famers (Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Rabbit Maranville, and Evers) plus Joe Jackson – quite a powerful punch.

Presented here is one of just five known examples of the issue’s unquestionable key: that of Ty Cobb.  Graded NM 7 by PSA, this example is the only Cobb on PSA’s population report.  It is likely the finest example of the Cobb pinback in existence.  The image quality is nearly perfect, with virtually no signs of age or wear to speak of.  A slight patina on the pin itself, with some very mild discoloration along the edges of the reverse are the only visible signs of wear, this is truly a spectacular example.

The finest known example of the key subject from the hobby’s most rare pinback issue.  An absolutely extraordinary rarity.

1916 Mino Cigarettes Tris Speaker

T216 Mino Speaker FrontThe second of the T216 Mino cards featured in this auction, the Tris Speaker card earned its way into our “Featured Items” section simply due to the head-turning responses it received at three Northeast shows where we displayed the card.  The card turned heads in unexpected ways, with just two collectors ever having seen one before.  Indeed, according to VCP, just one example has sold at public auction in the last three years, an SGC 40 that eclipsed $3,500 in 2012.

 

 

T216 Mino Speaker BackGraded GOOD 30 by SGC, this example was graded some time ago, certainly prior to SGC’s establishment of half grades at the lower levels.  With wide borders and even corner wear, the well-centered card does exhibit some minor creasing, but nothing that breaks the color of the card to any great degree, and certainly nothing to detract from the card’s excellent eye appeal.  An uncommon pose for a Speaker card, this is truly an interesting one, an extremely tough card from a seldom seen Louisiana tobacco issue.

Amazing High-Grade ’34 Goudey Gehrig

1934 Gehrig FrontThe phrase “Yellow Gehrig” is one any prewar collector will recognize; it clearly refers to the iconic 1934 Goudey card featuring the bold portrait of a smiling Yankee captain, set against a bright yellow background.  The Gehrig-endorsed 1934 Goudey issue helped cement the first baseman as the game’s biggest star in the wake of a fading Babe Ruth; his wholesome image and impossible consecutive games streak endeared him to baseball fans not only in New York but nationwide.

The 1934 Goudey issue remains one of the more popular of the gum card era, and without a Ruth, it is the issue’s two Gehrig cards that are the set’s undisputed keys.  The bright yellow background is susceptible to showing stains and scuffs, accentuating every flaw even in higher-grade examples.  Such high grade examples are rare, however, with just three specimens attaining a grade of MINT 9 by PSA, with two graded MINT 96 by SGC and one GEM 98.

There is no two ways about it: this is a monster card.  Graded MINT 9 OC by PSA, the qualifier refers only to the top-to-bottom centering issue that falls outside the range for a straight MINT grade.  The centering issue is relatively unobtrusive as far as eye appeal is concerned, however, the addition of the qualifier brings the sale price of the card down below the unquestionable six-figure range this card would fetch in a straight 9 holder.  Regardless, however, the card is as beautiful a “Yellow Gehrig” as you are likely to find, with brilliant yellow coloring and blazing corners.  The slight blemish near Gehrig’s left cheek that is visible in our high-resolution scan is strictly on the holder and not the card; it is a small blemish in the plastic that qwe were unable to remove.

With a total graded population of more than 1,000 examples, the number to achieve a MINT grade or better is just six.  One of the most beautiful “Yellow Gehrig” cards in existence, a pure mint copy with a slight centering flaw that reduces the card’s technical assessment but certainly not its aesthetic appeal.