Lot # 16: 1905 W601 Sporting Life Composite Detroit Tigers w/Rookie Ty Cobb (HOF) - Cobb's Earliest Major League Collectible!

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Starting Bid: $1,500.00

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In recent years, the 1907 Ty Cobb postcards have skyrocketed as collectors sought out the earliest cards of Cobb - his "rookie" cards.  Along with those single-player postcards, his various team postcard issues have spiked in kind, the HM Taylor and Real Photo issues eclipsing $5000 in collector grades, simply due to the desire of collectors to have the earliest card image of Ty Cobb.

The oddity of having a series of 1907 issues be considered the earliest images of a player who broke in two years prior is rendered even more odd when it is considered that Cobb appeared on two Sporting Life issues in advance of the 1907 issues - the 1906-07 W601 postcard and this 1905 W601 team composite.  This team composite pictures a young Cobb as a member of the 1905 Tigers, almost an afterthought in the bottom-right of the composite.  Distributed by Sporting Life magazine in a string-bound portfolio, the composite is extremely tough to find, and features one of the earliest images of the young Tigers outfielder - along with fellow Hall of Famer Sam Crawford, 16 other teammates, and manager Bill Armour.  This example is in remarkable condition, the 13" x 14" piece clean and unblemished, with only mild wear and lightly-toned edges, along with an extremely tiny edge tear at the top right, almost unnoticeable and mentioned here solely for accuracy.

While it may be difficult to term this his "rookie" card with the availability of so many single-player 1907 cards featuring Cobb, this identical composite image served as the cover of the November 25, 1905 issue of Sporting Life Magazine - the photographs clearly taken during the 1905 season. A highly-desirable scarcity featuring Cobb depicted as a member of the 1905 team - his first season in the Majors - and quite likely the earliest-known Ty Cobb collectible portraying him in a major league uniform.

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