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Lot # 6 (of 1137)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1915 Schmelzer’s Sporting Goods Ty Cobb Advertising Pin - Newly Discovered!

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $8,295

Presented is an extraordinary Ty Cobb advertising pinback issued in 1915 by Schmelzer's Sporting Goods of Kansas City. This is a newly discovered example of what by any measure is one of the collecting world's rarest and most desirable baseball pinbacks. When we were first called about this pin, we were naturally skeptical, as fewer than approximately twenty-five Schmelzer's pins are even known to exist. We were told by the noncollector who called that this was the only baseball item she had in her possession, and from the description she provided, it appeared that it happened to be a Ty Cobb Schmelzer's pinback. Upon receiving an image, we found that the Ty Cobb pin was indeed real - and in exceptional condition! The pin had been saved in the family for decades and remained in a small town west of Kansas City (not coincidentally exactly where Schmelzer's Sporting Goods was located). In addition to being the first baseball pin set to combine photos of famous ballplayers with color lithographic artwork, Schmelzers are among the rarest of all baseball celluloids. Each pin in this striking set features a black-and-white portrait image of the player along with a full-color figure of a generic ballplayer to the left, representing a position, which is also noted above the portrait in red lettering. Schmelzer's Sporting Goods pins have been revered by advanced collectors for both their rarity and design since the earliest days of organized collecting. While Ty Cobb is a staple in many prewar card sets, and his cards can routinely sell for great sums, they pale in comparison in terms of rarity to the Ty Cobb Schmelzer's Sporting Goods pins. In our opinion (and we are big fans of pinbacks so maybe we are biased), a strong case can be made that the rarest baseball pinbacks are extremely undervalued and represent an extraordinary value compared to the rarest baseball cards. As baseball pinbacks continue to rise in prominence among the world's most advanced collectors, it would not surprise us if the rarest and most desirable examples someday rival the values placed on similarly rare and desirable cards. Any short list of the era's most desirable baseball pinbacks will include the Cobb Schmelzer's. The pin is in Near Mint condition, with almost no noticeable wear, exceptional gloss, and with the original advertising back paper still intact, perfectly centered and flawless on the reverse. On the curl of the pin it is indicated, in tiny letters, that these pins were manufactured for Schmelzer's Sporting Goods by The Whitehead & Hoag Company, the premier pinback-maker of the era. Interestingly, Cobb was completely unknown in the Schmelzer's set until REA's May 2006 auction when an exciting find of a dozen Schmelzer's were sold (Lot 932) that included not one, but three Cobbs! To the best of our knowledge, including the offered example, there are only four Ty Cobb Schmelzer's Sporting Goods advertising pins known to exist. This is a spectacular, newly discovered example of one of celluloid collecting's most desirable advertising pinback rarities. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $8,295

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