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Lot # 7 (of 1137)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extraordinary 1916-1918 Ty Cobb Pro-Model Bat - Graded GU9 by PSA/DNA

Starting Bid - $20,000, Sold For - $65,175

Ty Cobb H&B signature-model bat (predating model numbers) dating from the 1916-1918 manufacturing period. Graded GU9 by PSA/DNA. Presented is one of the finest Ty Cobb bats in existence, and one the very few to have provenance that traces the bat directly to Ty Cobb himself! In addition, this is not only an extremely early Ty Cobb pro-model bat, dating from the pinnacle of his career, but also one with an extremely desirable and documented provenance in the collecting world. This bat was once one of the premier pieces in the legendary personal collection of pioneer collector and noted bat expert Michael Montbriand. It is accompanied by a four-page LOA from Montbriand, dated January 31, 1996, in which he details its rich history. In part:

The person from whom I obtained this magnificent Ty Cobb game used bat was an older man in whose family the bat remained since his father obtained it directly from Ty Cobb during the circa 1916 time frame. This man's father would stand between third base and home plate at Detroit Tiger's games to announce the player's at bats. This bat had been in his family continuously for about 74 years until I obtained it from him on October 9, 1990.

Montbriand concludes, "this Cobb bat has every characteristic any Cobb fan would want to have on his Cobb bat, plus it has good provenance. . . . Ty Cobb gamers of this caliber are, in my experience, very, very, rare." John Taube of PSA/DNA is obviously of the same opinion, grading the bat a remarkable GU9. In his accompanying letter, he notes both the amount of use and defining Cobb characteristics. In part:

. . . bat exhibits evidence of heavy use with a crack in the handle under the tape. Slight checking (grain swelling) from repeated ball contact is visible on the back barrel. Many ball marks and cleat marks are visible on the right, left and back barrel. Also visible on the barrel is a dark residue. The handle crack has been taped approximately 12.5 inches in a spiral pattern. The subject bat displays two notable player characteristics, a cluster of small cleat impressions on the upper barrel and a coating (dark residue) of tobacco juice on the barrel. Both characteristics can be found in our database on several well documented Ty Cobb bats.

This is an impeccable Ty Cobb game bat, with a rare ideally documented provenance, and one that by any measure is one of the finest examples in existence. All Cobb bats are rare (far rarer than Babe Ruth bats), and most of the few quality examples known date from the 1920s. The fact that this bat dates exclusively from 1916-1918 (one of only four Ty Cobb game bats from this era recorded in the PSA/DNA data base) is also particularly noteworthy and desirable. Not only is any such narrow range of years for a game bat extremely desirable, but it is also the case that Cobb was at the peak of his powers during the three-year period 1916-1918, compiling averages of .371, .383, and .382, respectively, with the latter two figures representing league-high marks. Cobb also led the league in hits (225), doubles (44), triples (24), and slugging percentage (.570) in 1917. One of only three players to hit over .400 on three separate occasions, Cobb's lifetime average of .366 has stood the test of time for the past eighty-four years and is a record that will most likely never be broken. In consulting with bat authenticators John Taube of PSA/DNA and Troy Kinunen of MEARS about this bat and the exact number of known Cobb bats (such as this example) with provenance that can be traced to Cobb's hands, each estimated that from all eras combined there appears to be no more than five (and one of these five is actually a presentation bat dating from many years after Cobb's playing days as opposed to a game bat). Ty Cobb bats of this quality are by far the exception rather than the rule, and this extraordinary example ranks among the few elite museum-quality Ty Cobb bat examples known to exist in the entire collecting world. Length: 34.5 inches. Weight: 41 ounces. LOAs from John Taube and Vince Malta of PSA/DNA, and Michael Montbriand. Reserve $20,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $65,175

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