This coming Tuesday, January 19 at 1 PM EST, Collectable will hold an IPO on a ‘1910 Ty Cobb E98 (Red Background)’ (PSA 10). The financials:
• Market Cap: $301,250
• Price per Share: $10.00
• Number of Shares: 30,125
One of only two perfect PSA Gem Mint 10’s, this ultra rare Cobb card stands out as a clear leader among pre-World War I baseball cards. The card itself is stunning and matches a similar format to other vintage caramel cards. With a crisp image of Cobb projected against a clean, solid red backdrop, the card has stood the test of time with its clarity and simplicity. Surrounded by a pure and untouched white border with sharp corners and clear stenciling, the perfection displayed by the card considering its history is miraculous. Caramel card sets were issued from 1888 through 1933 and were made specifically to allow kids the opportunity to purchase cards without adult supervision. Since tobacco cards, the same type Honus Wagner famously opposed, had to be purchased by an adult, they were typically less likely to end up in bicycle spokes. On the contrary, caramel cards were designed to be more colorful than their tobacco cousins and targeted younger fans who rarely took the appropriate steps to preserve and protect their purchase. While historians and investors alike can now appreciate the greatest of Ty Cobb, his unique story adds a special dimension to this incredible asset.
The Tragic Start
In 1905, the year Cobb first reported to Tigers spring training, tragedy struck. Cobb’s father had suspected his wife, Amanda, of infidelity and returned home early from a trip to catch her in the act. Amanda’s account has been disputed by court records but she claimed to have mistaken her husband as a burglar and fired two slugs from a double-barrel shotgun, killing him instantly. Amanda was arrested and indicted on manslaughter charges but was acquitted at trial in 1906. Cobb would later write in his autobiography that the horrific event shaped him into the unforgiving yet fiery ballplayer who would go on to dominate the sport for decades.
The Georgia Peach
One of the most controversial athletes to live, Tyrus Raymond Cobb rose from humble beginnings to cement himself as one of baseball’s greatest players. Cobb’s baseball career started in various semi-pro leagues before making his debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1905. Over the next 23 years, Cobb would set 90 MLB records including a .366 career batting average which still stands as the best all-time. Playing through the dead-ball era hampered his home run totals but his aggressive base running allowed him to set the American League record with 46 career inside-the-park home runs. Cobb not only played centerfield for the Tigers but was also their manager from 1921-1926, guiding his team to a 52% winning percentage.
The Intelligent Investor
Cobb was also an astute investor. He was known for visiting the Detroit stock market on days he wasn’t at the stadium and used his farming background to find an opportunity in cotton futures. After buying $1,000 worth of cotton contracts he quickly exited his position a mere two years later with a $7,500 profit, after the need for cotton uniforms exploded due to World War I. Cobb followed this up with an investment in a copper mine in Bisbee, Arizona. His initial purchase of 400 shares at $3 each turned into a $15,000 profit for the Hall of Fame baseball player.
In 1907 he bought 300 shares of Coca-Cola and over the next 20 years would purchase over 24,000 shares, sit on the company’s Board of Directors, and own three bottling plants in Idaho, Oregon, and California. Cobb would go on to turn advertising appearances into investment opportunities. In 2019, a 1930 Ty Cobb signed Coca-Cola stock certificate sold on RR Auction for $12,021 plus buyer’s premium. Cobb left the majority of his Coca-Cola holding to help build the Ty Cobb Health Care System, which still operates eight hospitals across Georgia. If the shares had not been divested it is estimated that his Coca-Cola holding alone would be worth more than $2 billion today.
The faulty rumors and myths surrounding Cobb started at his funeral in 1961. The story that was published pointed out a small attendance at his service which supported the theories that he was a hated man. The truth however, was that Cobb’s family had prepared a small, intimate funeral and only invited a limited guest list. Stories of Cobb tying him to racist comments he had made during his playing career were later disproven but unfortunately had already been publicized. The truth was that Cobb was one of the first baseball players to openly support the idea of allowing Negro League players the opportunity to play in the MLB. Cobb also built homes in predominantly black neighborhoods throughout Georgia and famously leased 12,000 acres to a black man named Bob Robinson. Cobb and Robinson spent decades hunting pheasants on the preserve together and held a close friendship. The negative stories that haunted Cobb after his death were driven by discredited reporting from Al Stump, Cobb’s biographer, who is accused by historians today of embellishing stories of the late-baseball star in an attempt to sell more books. Whatever the truth is behind Cobb and his complicated life, the lore that surrounds him will continue to add value to this card.
Cobb’s E98 in Gem Mint PSA 10 condition struck a final price of $264,000 at the Goldin Spring 2019 Auction and due to its extreme rarity will likely continue to produce exceptional returns as the true impact of Cobb is appreciated. In November, 2019, Rally held an IPO on a PSA 9 graded version of this card at a Market Cap of $39,000. It’s currently valued at $65,000, up 66.67% in trading to date. While the card follows in the footsteps of the record-setting T206 Honus Wagner, the caramel series seems incredibly undervalued. While the T-series which featured Cobb, Mathewson, and the famous Wagner set the vintage baseball card standard, the E-series which includes this Cobb is only beginning to realize its true potential on the auction block. According to the PSA Set Registry, there are no E-Series sets that are 100% complete. Investors through Collectable will now have the chance to invest in a Gem Mint 10 Cobb considered to be the flagship of the caramel series. While the card offered Tuesday will IPO at a premium compared to the Goldin sale, this Cobb presents an exclusive long-term investment opportunity in a card series that has yet to realize its true value.
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