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1914 Ty Cobb Signed Georgia Bank Stock Certificate
Starting Bid - $500, Sold For - $3,555
Early Ty Cobb signed stock certificate, issued by The First National Bank of Lavonia, Georgia, in 1914. This is the earliest Ty Cobb signed stock certificate we have ever seen and dates to the period in which Cobb began accumulating a tremendous amount of personal wealth through investments and endorsements. The stock certificate records the sale of five shares of Capital Stock in "The First National Bank of Lavonia" to "Tyrus R. Cobb." The certificate, which is numbered "91," is dated October 9, 1914, and has been signed in blue fountain pen along the base by both the bank president and cashier. Fourteen years later, on March 15, 1928, Cobb transferred these five shares to his twelve-year-old son Herschel. In accordance with that transfer, Cobb has flawlessly signed the certificate on the reverse ("Tyrus R. Cobb") in black fountain pen (grading "10"). This is the first Ty Cobb signed stock certificate we have ever handled relating to his investment in the The First National Bank of Lavonia. As noted by Charles Alexander in Ty Cobb (Oxford University Press, New York, 1984), Cobb was not only an investor in The First National Bank of Lavonia but a director as well, and as such, he owned a substantial amount of stock in the bank.
While Ty Cobb’s legacy on the field of play needs no recounting here, what is less known by many fans is that Cobb was baseball’s first millionaire player. He achieved that status in large part not from his salary as a ballplayer but due to his shrewd business investments during the early 1900s. Cobb, though he was not college educated, came from a well-to-do family in Georgia. His father was a local schoolteacher, and Cobb’s lifestyle was one of privilege, not hardship. His natural intelligence, combined with his father’s insistence on educational excellence, prepared him well for his future career. Unlike most of his teammates, Cobb didn't squander his money, but instead invested it wisely. He was an early shareholder in both Coca-Cola and General Motors, two of the most successful companies in American history, and the profits he reaped from those investments alone made him extremely wealthy. Cobb's investment in The First National Bank of Lavonia, aside from its monetary rewards, had a special significance for him because, like Coca-Cola, it was based in his home state of Georgia. Cobb remained a director of the bank for many years, and it is still in existence today, doing business as Northeast Georgia Bank. As a point of reference, REA sold a Ty Cobb signed 1930 Coca-Cola stock certificate for $11,163 in our May 2011 auction (Lot 1051).
The certificate (15.25 x 8.75 inches), which includes its corresponding receipt page affixed to the left border, displays two vertical and horizontal folds, and has been stamped "Cancelled" on the front a number of times. Minor tears appear at the ends of each vertical fold line. There is also a small tear within the raised seal. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $500. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $3,555
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