Fall Premier Auction 2019

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Rarely does a collectible surface in the hobby with as much mystique as this offered 1909 regional postcard featuring both Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner – one of the only known pieces of cardboard picturing both legends together. With striking black-and-white portraits of Cobb and Wagner, this postcard came out right around the time their respective clubs met in the 1909 World Series. Entitled "World Series Souvenir - Two of a Kind", it features accurate hand-drawn images of a young Cobb and a veteran Wagner above each’s surname and team mascot. “Copyright 1909 by W. W. Smith [artist]” and manufacturers “Davis & Mason, Pittsburgh" are printed in tiny font. Someone has handwritten in blue ballpoint “1909” and “Detroit vs. Pittsburgh” on the front. The reverse postal indicium was postmarked October 9, 1909 in Pittsburgh with a 1-cent Benjamin Franklin stamp and directed to a Willie O’Donnell in Baltimore, MD.

With a small hole puncture centered on the postcard, this example could get no higher than its “PSA Authentic” determination. The rest of the cardboard is intact and in relatively good shape for its age. If no hole, its rounded corners (creased at lower right), wrinkle creases and light brown toning/staining to the white background would place it around FR/GD. According to PSA and SGC population reports, this is just the third Cobb/Wagner example to be encapsulated by either card authenticator. The sole SGC example surfaced in 2009 and the other PSA example (also “Authentic”) sold for $18,000 in 2018.

Little is known about these obscure 1909 W.W. Smith postcards. Unlisted in the Standard Catalog of Vintage Baseball Cards and overlooked by Jefferson Burdick’s The American Card Catalog, hobby records indicate that only two postcards have been produced from this issue: the “Two of a Kind” version offered here and a "Mighty Honus" image of an oversized Wagner portrait. There could be a solo Cobb portrait out there, but considering the “Davis & Mason, Pittsburgh” copyright, it stands to reason that only the hometown hero got his own postcard. If ever there was a holy grail for postcards collectors, this is it!

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