Seven rare, identical Ty Cobb baseball cards more than a century old are found inside a torn paper bag on the floor of a house. Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator, talks about the special find. Rough Cut - subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Seven rare, identical Ty Cobb baseball cards more than a century old were found weeks ago inside a torn paper bag on the floor a house, marking one of the most remarkable discoveries in the world of sports collectables, a leading expert in California said on Thursday (March 3). What sets apart the newly dubbed "Lucky 7" cards is that in addition to a portrait of the American League great emblazoned on the front, his name is printed with a tobacco ad on the back - matching a design found on just 15 other Cobb cards previously known to exist. "A couple of weeks ago, I was called by a dealer by the name of Rick Snyder from the South Carolina area. He was approached by a family that allegedly found these seven cards bunched up together, face down at the bottom of an old, crumpled paper bag while they were cleaning out their great-grandparents' home. And while they were going through the possessions, they thought 'oh this bag, it looks like trash, we'll just discard it.' But, one of the family members was smart enough to actually sift through the contents and they found these cards at the bottom of the bag," said Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), who with other experts has verified and graded the find. The collection as a whole is worth "well into seven figures," said Orlando. Several far more common Ty Cobb designs exist, bearing variations of artwork portraits of the famed Detroit Tigers slugger, nicknamed "the Georgia Peach." The newly found cards belong to an extremely scarce version - now numbering just 22 - that also came printed with his name on the reverse side, above the phrase "King of the Smoking Tobacco World." "There are only 22 known of this particular card and even in PSA1 and we grade cards on a scale of 1 to 10, even at PSA1 in the last couple of years has sold for $150,000. This find produced seven cards ranging from 1.5 to 4.5 and I'm holding the 4.5 right here. This is now the finest known copy of this great rarity," Orlando said. Orlando said the family has asked to remain anonymous, declining even to disclose the location of the house beyond saying it was in the South. The Lucky 7 date from 1909 to 1911, part of a larger set designated the T206 series - affectionately known by collectors as "The Monster" - and originally distributed as tobacco brand promotions with cards of all the era's baseball stars. The group ranks among the most prized by collectors and includes the Holy Grail of baseball card hobbyists, one picturing the Pittsburgh Pirates' "Flying Dutchman," Honus Wagner. "In the collectables field, there are bragging rights. I have something that few people own or no one else owns. And when it comes to scarcity, that's part of the great appeal for collectors. So in this case, because there are so few that exist, collectors are very drawn to them," said Orlando. Rick Snyder, the authorized PSA dealer in South Carolina who was the first to examine the cards, said he sold the first two cards on the family's behalf on Thursday. The price was undisclosed, but each fetched well more than the $154,000 a lesser-quality specimen sold for last year, Snyder said.