Mastro Winter 2006
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on:
This electrifying display piece is one of only two known survivors of its rare kind. It measures 15" x 35" and features Ty Cobb in the same portrait pose that appears in the T202 Hassan Triple Folder tobacco-card set (as well as in the preceding T205 Gold Border issue). Like those small-sized triptych cards designated as T202, this Cobb display also was initially constructed as one-third of a three-panel production—Cobb on the left, Christy Mathewson on the right and the famed Charles Conlon photo of "Cobb sliding" in the center.
Until earlier this year, the existence of the photographic central panel remained a mystery; collectors were aware of only one Cobb display (this one!) and just two Mathewsons, and the evidence for a "missing link" between them came from period newspaper ads depicting an artist's illustration of all three pieces. Then, a previously unknown copy of the entire cardboard creation—Cobb and Matty with Conlon's iconic action shot—surfaced at auction and realized close to $100,000. It was certainly an eye-catching price tag, though perhaps somewhat less than one might expect based on the sum of its parts. This Cobb example alone had sold for $46,000 back in 2001 (the last time it was presented at auction), and the pair of Mathewsons had each garnered hammer prices of more than $60,000 in 2000 and 2001. Evidently, the long-missing central panel did not significantly impact the overall value, or at least was not as favored by collectors as the huge portrait end panels of "Big Six" and the "Georgia Peach."
Given their paucity and desirability, the appearance at auction of either one of these oversized card treasures is an exceedingly rare, potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They are the only 1910s-era store displays pertaining to the classic tobacco-card sets of the day, and they are widely considered the pinnacle of all baseball advertising displays from that period. Indeed, there is a high likelihood that once the gavel comes down on auction night, Cobb will be safeguarded by a single collector for many years to come, as will his one extant counterpart that was sold earlier this year as part of the full Triple-Folder ad.
Preservation-wise, it is remarkable that such a large, vulnerable 94-year-old item has not been ruined by the elements of time, weather and storage. General minor abrasions and edge wear are routinely apparent, and there is also a pre-punched hole at the "R" in "GREATEST" plus three other small holes—at the "C" in "Cobb," on his lips, and at the bottom of the baseball. However, these insignificant flaws are vastly overshadowed by the immense size, fine details and spectacular aesthetic appeal of this two-of-a-kind offering, which is housed in a shadowbox-like, custom-made frame to overall dimensions of 19" x 39". It is with great pride and pleasure that we present this, the most impressive of all display pieces ever to feature Ty Cobb, "The World's Greatest Batter."
Giant 1912 T202 Ty Cobb Hassan Triple-Folder Advertising Display
Click above for larger image.