Collectors and auctioneers alike pine for the day when they encounter a previously unknown collection or group of cards; such "finds" are the stuff of hobby legend. Recent such collections to have surfaced in the hobby include the "Southern Fairway Find" of T210 Joe Jacksons and tough-backed T206s, and of course the "Black Swamp Find" of 1910 E98 cards. News of such high-end finds invariably uncovers more finds, as people scour their attics for old collections passed down through the generations.
Such is the case with the "Full Count Find," the third original owner collection of tobacco cards brought to the hobby by Love of the Game in the past year. Nicknamed "Full Count" after the hobby internet forum where the cards first came to light, the collection includes a large group of 1915 Cracker Jack cards, including Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb (approximately 135 different). The collection also includes one of the most difficult cards in the 1914 Cracker Jack set – that of Del Pratt.
"The collection began to surface on the pages of the Full Count Forum in early February," recounted Auction Director Al Crisafulli. "There have been so many collections that have surfaced this way over the years, but in this case the owner was interested in learning the hobby and understanding what he had. Over the course of the next month or so, he treated the board to scans of various components of the collection while he determined the best venue to sell it. The members of the Full Count Forum were unbelievably helpful to the owner, in identifying what he had, what it was worth, and ultimately what to do with the cards."
The early part of the collection was assembled in California by a boy who collected caramel and tobacco cards in the early 1900s. With his passing, the cards were passed down to a family member who fell in love with them in the late 1950s and used them as the foundation of a collection of Topps cards. Both collections remained in that same family in their entirety until now.
"This is an entirely fresh collection," explained Crisafulli, who elected to submit all the Cracker Jacks to PSA for grading. "None of these Cracker Jacks have seen the light of day in the hobby, and despite the lower technical grades, most of them look fantastic."In addition to the Cracker Jacks, the collection includes a variety of other collector-grade caramel cards including E90-1, E93 and E95, plus a large group of T206s. "The T206s almost all have Polar Bear backs," explained Crisafulli. Similar to what we did with the Ernest Born collection from our last auction, we've elected to keep most of the Polar Bears together in one lot, in hopes that the winning bidder will keep that portion of the collection together."
Also included are a host of baseball cards from Topps' earlier days, beginning with 1957. "The '57s are gorgeous," said Crisafulli. "Technically they're midgrade, I guess, but they're bright and clean with crisp images and bright borders. We submitted a bunch to PSA and got back a lot of 5s and 6s, but these are also fresh to the hobby, virtually untouched for more than fifty years."
The more recent part of the collection also includes groups of Topps baseball from 1958 through 1960, including many stars.
The collection will be broken into approximately 80 lots and offered in Love of the Game's August auction. Highlights from the find will be on display at the company's booth at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Rosemont, Illinois, from July 31-August 4. Love of the Game will be located in Booth 309.