Sports Collectors

Previously Unknown 100+ Year Old Cards Now Up for Auction

Two recent finds of rare pre-War baseball cards, some previously unknown, will find new homes this weekend. 

Last spring, a group of Rose Company Postcards was uncovered in New England after the family that owned them called Scott Russell of The Collector Connection. Six of the green bordered cards were “no name” 1909 variations, three of which had never been seen before.

Later in the year, we reported on another incredibly rare find—a hoard of 1921 W-Unc Self Developing Strip cards. That discovery increased the checklist of known cards in the set from 15 to 21. It has since increased to 22.

Cards from both finds are being offered in the current Collector Connection auction, set to close Sunday, November 28.

“For us to have truly unique items is always exciting,” said owner Scott Russell. “We’re a smaller company but we do get some unusual items, but for us to have so many all at one time and for our Pre War Auction to boot is taking it to another level.”

One highlight from the Rose Co. group is a Christy Mathewson, since graded PSA 3 which is only the second graded No Name variation in the combined population reports of SGC and PSA.  

There was also a Cy Young card in the find. In researching the set Russell found that there are only two other known Young cards and neither of those has come up for public sale since 2004.

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Previously Unknown 100+ Year Old Cards Now Up for Auction

On top of being one of just three known Young cards and the only “No Name” variation,. there is something that makes it even more unique. There were several players who were traded between the two years of Rose Co. production, 1908 and 1909. Rose Co. printed stickers with just the player’s name on them to place over the printed portion of the card with the names of their former teams—sort of an “update set” of the time.  Young was traded from Boston to Cleveland between 1908 and 1909 so if the company had back stock of Young cards it would stand to reason that there would be a sticker version but it was only theory until the discovery of the Young card that’s now in the auction.

Previously Unknown 100+ Year Old Cards Now Up for Auction

Russell noted “It was actually a bit of a struggle to get PSA to recognize it as a variation since the sticker is obviously an addition to the card. Luckily I was able to show PSA some of the other sticker examples and they realized that the story on this card added up and it now resides in a PSA 3 holder.”

The 1921 cards are certainly another interesting case.   “I actually doubt that they are self-developing cards,” Russell opined.  “The print quality is far too crisp. If you’re familiar with later self-developing cards the quality is often very hit or miss, yet in the few known examples of these cards they are all very strong images.”

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He adds, “Frankly, I also don’t think they are strip cards as they are of a uniform size and all perfectly square which would be incredibly rare for hand cut cards. If I had my guess I’d say they are simply small real-photo cards. They probably are from 1921 though so at least that is right.”

Previously Unknown 100+ Year Old Cards Now Up for Auction

The find included three Hall of Famers to the checklist: Zach Wheat, Rabbit Maranville and George Sisler as well as the only Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb cards on the SGC Pop Report (PSA has never graded any of these cards). The newly uncovered cards were all mounted in a scrapbook and carefully removed. taking care to leave excess paper instead of running the risk of damaging the back. They grade out at SGC 1 due to the residue on the backs but most present well from the front as is common with cards that spent 100 years protected inside an album.

Previously Unknown 100+ Year Old Cards Now Up for Auction

Registration for the auction, which also includes over 500 lots of pre-war cards and memorabilia, is open with initial bids due before 10 PM EST on Sunday.

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