March 29, 2018
Presented is one of the most incredible and improbable cards we've ever had the privilege of offering: a newly discovered Ty Cobb portrait red background example from the legendary T206 White Border series featuring an extremely rare Broad Leaf 460 advertising back. This is only the second confirmed example of this card, easily one of the most extraordinary of all T206 front and back combinations in existence.
Broad Leaf 460 backs are striking, unusual, and extremely rare. Even a sample of a common player is one of the most difficult to find of all T206 advertising backs. Examples featuring key Hall of Famers, especially Ty Cobb, who aside from Honus Wagner symbolizes the T206 set for many collectors, are virtually impossible. According to T206Resource.com, this back ranks as the fourth most difficult (out of thirty-nine) advertising reverse. While Broad Leaf 460 backs are by no means easy to find, the three backs ranking higher are considered by many to be nearly impossible (the three backs are Brown Old Mill, Brown Lenox, and Ty Cobb Tobacco, although the recent find of eight Cobb/Cobb examples has changed the known population). To date, PSA and SGC have combined to grade only seventy-nine examples (of all subjects) with a Broad Leaf 460 back (it is possible that some additional examples are graded by PSA as the 350/460 cards were not distinguished from each other until several years ago).
This card comes to us from an unlikely consignor--one far removed from the baseball-card hobby but with an impressive background in collecting antiques. Based in western New York, our consignor specializes in antique telephones and makes a habit of going on "junking expeditions" looking for treasure. His pursuits have been well rewarded, not only with additions to his own collection but with discoveries of fascinating and valuable gems in popular areas, such as tobacciana and advertising. One of these expeditions led him to a house where this card was discovered among old advertising signage and papers. We have seen instances of such impressive cards turning up in unlikely places--the Black Swamp and Lucky Seven finds come to mind. We'd love to know the reason this card ended up where it did, but that is lost to time.
Prior to contacting Robert Edward Auctions, our consignor decided that he would sell the Broad Leaf Cobb because it is in lesser condition than another Cobb in his collection featuring a Cycle 350 back. (The internet-only section of our online auction features the balance of our consignor's collection, with approximately forty additional cards, including Buffalo-area Brunner's Bread cards, E104 Nadjas, assorted caramel and tobacco cards, and seven different T207 Broad Leaf cards.) When he listed the card on eBay, he was inundated with interest and inquiries from knowledgeable collectors, and he received an immediate education in the importance of the advertising back on T206s and the inherent skepticism that befalls a significant card offered outside the expected channels. He contacted us for information on his card and provided background on himself, the card, and the remainder of the collection. Excited by the prospect of what could be, we encouraged him to get the Cobb and all the other cards to us for review. Once they were all in hand, it was obvious that what he had was very special. After a thorough inspection in our office by all card experts on staff, the card was sent to SGC for professional authentication. The only other Broad Leaf 460 Ty Cobb rests inside an SGC holder, and we are pleased to report that now there are two SGC-graded Cobb portrait red background cards with this rare back.
Graded POOR 10 due to numerous condition issues, including heavy horizontal creasing, which has resulted in a small tear along the right side of the crease. Despite these flaws, the card retains its bold, bright red background. The important advertising back is boldly printed, with some light staining and faint traces of pencil. This is an astounding card, one that is missing from all but one collection of T206s, and one that demonstrates that the unknown can become known at any time anywhere. It is a great privilege for us to offer this card and properly document its existence for the first time. This is an exceptional example of one of the rarest and most desirable T206 Hall of Famer front and rare advertising-back combinations in existence.