“STOCKTON FIND” OF RARE CRACKER JACK BASEBALL CARDS TO BE FEATURED IN LOVE OF THE GAME FALL AUCTION

Newly-discovered horde of rare baseball cards to be auctioned November 19 

1915-cj-30-cobb-frontHACKETTSTOWN, N.J., October 31, 2016 – Beginning in 1908, when “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” became one of the year’s most popular songs, the Cracker Jack brand has been synonymous with baseball.  Today, the company’s baseball cards are likely to provide a New Jersey family with a six-figure windfall.

Love of the Game Auctions, a Hackettstown, NJ-based sports memorabilia auction company, will be auctioning a group of more than 170 newly-discovered 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack cards, including ultra-valuable cards of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson.  The cards were discovered by a family who inherited them from a favorite uncle in 2002, in a box of assorted personal belongings.

“A find like this is a rare occurrence,” explained Auction Director Al Crisafulli.  “In 1914 and 1915, Cracker Jack included baseball cards as the ‘prize’ inside each box.  They were tremendously popular when they were issued, but they’re very scarce today, especially the 1914 cards.  Some collectors speculate that fewer than a dozen complete 1914 sets exist in the entire hobby.  The Christy Mathewson alone is a $20,000 card.”

The cards were initially collected by a South Dakota boy named Oliver, who at 9 or 10 years old, bought as many boxes of Cracker Jack as he could afford, tucking the cards away into his growing collection.  Oliver, like many of us, eventually outgrew his baseball cards, but his mother didn’t throw them away – she packed them away in a box of his personal memorabilia, which included old report cards, Playbills, and letters.  Along with other heirlooms, the box was passed down through Oliver’s family over the years, eventually landing in the sleepy town of Stockton, New Jersey with his descendants in 2002 – where it remained unopened until this past summer.

The family reached out to Love of the Game Auctions due to the company’s reputation for handling significant sports memorabilia finds.  “The family had done their homework,” explained Crisafulli.  “There isn’t much historical precedent with collections like this when it comes to establishing value.  They took the time to understand what they had, how to properly assess their condition, and the best way to sell them.  They took great care to make the right decision when it came to selling the cards.  I’m thrilled that they chose Love of the Game to auction the collection.”

The cards, all of which have been professionally authenticated and graded by industry leader Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), will be sold as part of Love of the Game’s Fall Auction.

“The cards are unbelievably clean,” stated Crisafulli.  “They’ve got some normal wear, because young Oliver clearly loved them and played with them as a boy – but once they were packed away, they didn’t see the light of day for the better part of a century.  Almost all the important cards are included – it’s the largest ‘original owner’ collection of Cracker Jacks we’ve ever seen.”

According to Crisafulli, early word of the consignment has been met with strong enthusiasm. “Beyond its significant value, this is the kind of collection that makes baseball fans of all ages feel like kids again,” he said. “Everyone knows Cracker Jack – it’s one of the oldest and most respected American brands.  Everyone knows players like Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson – they bring us back to a more innocent time.  It’s a truly fantastic and rare find.”

LOTG’s call auction will open in early November and run through November 19. Crisafulli added that the Cracker Jack collection will share the spotlight with an impressive lineup of featured items including Christy Mathewson’s World War I garment bag, a beautiful 1909-11 T206 near set, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle graded SGC VG 40, a beautiful selection of 19th Century baseball cards, and much, much more. For more information, visit www.loveofthegameauctions.com.

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Two auctions at once? You betcha!

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Next week, in addition to our eagerly-anticipated Fall Premier Auction, we will be launching our inaugural Ringside Auction, which features approximately 250 lots of boxing-specific cards and memorabilia.

The auction was curated in conjunction with Adam Warshaw, author of America’s Great Boxing Cards.  Adam helped with lotting and descriptions, and we’re really enthusiastic about the result, which features some truly special boxing material.

One of the items we’re most excited about is an American Caramel E125 Jack Johnson.  Graded AUTHENTIC by PSA, this is one of just three examples known, and the first to be graded by PSA.  It, along with a host of other cards, is part of the PSA Set Registry’s #2 Jack Johnson set, which we’ll be offering in this auction.

The auction will launch at the same time as our Premier auction, but will close one week after – the closing date is Saturday, November 26.  Catalogs will mail together.  Be on the lookout!

 

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Christy Mathewson’s Military Garment Bag

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Of all the players of the Deadball Era, Christy Mathewson is among the most revered among hobbyists.  The legend of the “Christian Gentleman” as exactly that – a college educated gentleman, playing a sport at the time often reserved for miscreants, led him to be one of the most popular and well-liked players of his era.  During the War, Mathewson enlisted in the US Army, and was appointed a Captain in the Chemical Warfare Service (along with fellow ballplayers Ty Cobb and Branch Rickey). The tragic 1918 accident that resulted in Mathewson’s exposure to mustard gas during a training excercise certainly shortened his life; eight soldiers died that day but Mathewson and Cobb escaped with their lives.  

Memorabilia from Mathewson’s time in the military has filtered its way throughout the hobby over the years; this is one of the most significant pieces we have encountered: Mathewson’s military garment bag.  Emblazoned with Mathewson’s name, rank and “C.W.S.,” this outstanding relic is constructed of durable cloth with a heavy leather handle, and measures approximately 28″ x 50″ with multiple pockets, straps, and spaces for the Captain’s uniform and garments.  Indeed, Mathewson’s clothing likely accompanied him to France in late 1918 in this very bag – and returned home with him after the accident which ultimately cut his life short.

The bag itself is in ourstanding condition, with normal wear and tear related to its age and usage, including multiple pronounced, visible stains throughout.  Mathewson’s printed name and the CWS insignia are printed clearly on the front pocket.  We have also included a 6″ x 9″ photo of Mathewson in his military uniform – likely a Type II photo of vintage origin, marked 1922 on the reverse.

One of the more remarkable items we have had the pleasure of offering, a piece that bridges the life of one of the game’s greatest ever ballplayers with the branch of the US Army in which he served, to which ultimately gave his life.  A wonderful, museum-quality piece, coming soon in our Fall Premier Auction.