The 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.