In a remarkable turn of events, a Northern California individual stumbled upon a truly extraordinary find for baseball memorabilia enthusiasts—a collection of century-old baseball cards. This discovery has propelled a trove of baseball history into the modern collecting hobby, leaving collectors and historians alike astounded by its significance.
It all started with a simple phone call to Auction Monthly, a Granite Bay-based auction house, in late September. The caller informed them of an old tin box filled with baseball cards that he wished to sell. What awaited the auction house was nothing short of astonishing. Nestled within a rusty Pedro Cut Plug Tobacco tin was a carefully preserved assembly of strip, caramel, and tobacco baseball cards, dating back over a century.
The collection belonged to “Ed,” born in 1909, who spent his childhood in Oakland and passed away in 1994. According to Ed’s son, his father was one of many who endured the Great Depression and developed a habit of never throwing anything away. The tin, most likely a gift from an uncle, became a treasured chest of childhood memories for Ed. After his father’s passing, the tin was rediscovered in a closet, virtually untouched, nearly three decades ago.
Now, this long-forgotten collection has found its way into the hands of collectors, sparking a renewed fascination with baseball’s rich history.
The tin contained an astounding array of over 600 cards, all from the year 1926 or earlier. The cards themselves reflected their age and the affection of the young hands that once held them—strip cards, often torn or cut, showing signs of being cherished possessions. Notably, the collection boasted no fewer than 20 cards featuring the legendary Babe Ruth, further cementing its exceptional nature.
This remarkable find included several star players and highlights from baseball’s early years:
– A 1919-21 W514 Shoeless Joe Jackson card
– A 1921 E220 National Caramel Ruth card
– A 1922 American Caramel E121 Ruth card
– Cards representing nearly every player from the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal
– Multiple Ruth cards from the W514 series dating 1919-21
– Three 1920 W519 Ruth cards
– A 1922 American Caramel E121 Ty Cobb card
– A 1921 W516 Ty Cobb card
– A 1920 W519 George Sisler card
This captivating collection spanned several pre-War sets, encompassing a diverse selection of strip cards from 1919-1923 that mirrored Ed’s childhood years, as well as various 1924-26 Zeenuts cards, a series distributed on the west coast.
The auction company, taken aback by the number of Ruth cards, quickly recognized the collection’s significance. They promptly set about selecting the finest cards for grading, while others were sold in their original state.
For the world of baseball card collecting, this discovery represents more than just a transaction or an addition to inventory. It serves as a poignant reminder of the deep-rooted love for baseball that transcends generations. What was once a young boy’s pride, carried through the decades in a tobacco tin, now stands as a symbol of the timeless allure of the game and its heroes.
Each card tells a story, worn at the edges not only by time but also by the eager fingers of a young fan. These cards represent the idols of a bygone era—Ruth, Jackson, Cobb, and Sisler. Through these cards, a piece of their heroes could be held in their hands. This emotional connection, the nostalgia, and the pure love of the game are what resonate with collectors, far beyond any monetary value.
As this remarkable collection enters the public sphere, it serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of baseball’s early legends. Uncovering such a cache of memorabilia stirs excitement akin to finding a hidden gem that, once polished, brings to light a bygone era of sports history. For collectors, historians, and baseball aficionados alike, the release of this century-old collection is a momentous event, bridging tangible artifacts from the past with the present-day passion for collecting.
Each card from this extraordinary find acts as a bridge across time, connecting the dots of baseball’s evolution. As the auction house meticulously processes the collection, every piece will find its way into the hands of individuals who appreciate not only their rarity but also the journey these cards have undergone. From the pocket of a young baseball fan in the early 20th century to a cherished position in the collections of modern enthusiasts, these cards carry with them the essence of America’s pastime—a rich legacy that continues to captivate and inspire.