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Lot # 932 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

Extraordinary New Discovery of Circa 1912 Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods Advertising Pins Including Two Joe Jacksons and three Ty Cobbs (12)

Starting Bid - $20,000.00, Sold For - $81,200.00

Presented is a newly discovered extraordinary find of twelve advertising pinbacks issued circa 1912 by Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods of Kansas City. When we were first called about this find, we were stunned. In addition to being the first baseball pin set to combine photos of famous ballplayers with color lithographic artwork, Schmeltzer's are among the rarest of all baseball celluloids. In fact, prior to this discovery, fewer than twelve Schmeltzer's pins in total were known to exist. 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. Based on the examples known, it is believed that there are nine pins to the set, with one player representing each of the nine player positions. Only eight different players, however, are currently known to exist: Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Rabbit Maranville, Christy Mathewson, Hank Gowdy, Butch Schmidt, Charlie Deal, and Dan Hoffman. Previous to this find, only six different players were known. Ty Cobb and Danny Hoffman (each of which are represented three times in the find) are new discoveries to the set. This lot, which is offered as a single collection, is comprised of the following: two Joe Jacksons (center field), three Ty Cobbs (right field), three Danny Hoffmans (left field), Rabbit Maranville (short stop), two Hank Gowdys (catcher), and Butch Schmidt (first base). Two players in this collection (Gowdy and Maranville), although not listed in the Standard Catalog, were previously known to exist. The inclusion of all three Ty Cobbs known to exist, plus two of the four Joe Jacksons known to exist, are obvious highlights to the collection, but all are extremely significant. Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods pins have been revered by advanced collectors for both their rarity and design since the earliest days of organized collecting. The inclusion of Joe Jackson in the set has always made this issue all the more significant. (Note: Previous to this find, exactly two Joe Jacksons were known to exist. One of these is in Excellent condition; the second is in fair condition with serious cracking to the celluloid.) The few cards of Joe Jackson from his playing days (such as E90-1 American Caramel and 1916 M101-4/5 Sporting News) routinely sell for extraordinary sums, yet these cards pale in comparison in terms of rarity to the Joe Jackson Schmeltzer'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 collecting world's most advanced collectors, it would not surprise us if the rarest and most desirable examples someday rivaled the values placed on similarly rare and desirable cards. If history is any guide, whatever this collection of twelve rare baseball pinbacks sells for, someday just one of the two Joe Jackson pins may be valued at what this entire collection will bring. The three Ty Cobbs, of course (the only three in existence), as well as the balance of the collection, make this an all the more extremely interesting and substantial lot, and a unique and exciting collecting opportunity. These pins have been consigned to this auction by a noncollector who desires to offer the collection in its entirety as a single lot, exactly as it has been saved for decades. Each pin is in Excellent to Mint condition, with perfect centering, exceptional gloss, and each with the original advertising back paper still intact on the reverse. Only one pin (Maranville) has a small hint of foxing on the curl (not visible from the front), otherwise all are completely free from foxing and staining. On the curl of each it is indicated, in tiny letters, that these pins were manufactured for Schmeltzer's Sporting Goods by The Whitehead & Hoag Company, the premier pinback-maker of the era. Reserve $20,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $81,200.00


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