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Ty Cobb trading card realises $408,000 at auction

A T206 1909-1911 Ty Cobb red background with “Ty Cobb back” trading card has sold for $408,000 at Heritage Auctions.
The piece is part of the so-called “Lucky 7” find, a cache of seven good quality examples of this rare card found in Georgia in 2016. At VG+ 3.5, it’s the second best in the batch.

Prior to 2016, only 15 specimens were known across a range of grades. It’s still the rarest card in the T206 catalogue, although the Honus Wagner (75 specimens) is the one that sells for the biggest sums (up to $3.1m) due to its status as a classic rarity.

You might well wonder how on earth seven of the rarest cards in the hobby turn up in one house. The answer is that the T206 cards were distributed in tobacco tins.

One of the former residents was a loyal smoker of Ty Cobb branded tobacco, which featured a higher than average distribution of the Cobb cards.

A 1920-1922 Babe Ruth game-used bat achieved $400,800.

Babe Ruth used this bat in his record breaking 1920-1922 seasons

That dates it to Ruth’s barnstorming early years with the Yankees. While he’d been deployed as a pitcher at the Red Sox, the Yankees had the foresight to use him almost exclusively as a batter.

Before 1920, home runs were extremely rare events.

Babe Ruth broke the league record in his first couple of months and continued to smash them out of the park at an extraordinary rate. Crowds began turning up in enormous numbers. By 1923, the Yankees were forced to move to a bigger stadium to accommodate everyone.

This bat weighs over 1.2kg, making it one of the heavier bats in Ruth’s arsenal.

The record remains $1.2m, set in 2004 for the bat Ruth used to hit his first home run at the new Yankee Stadium on April 18, 1923.

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