Family Discovers Ty Cobb Baseball Cards Worth an Estimated $1 Million

Trash turned to treasure recently for a family who discovered seven Ty Cobb baseball cards inside a torn paper bag.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the cards—estimated to be worth more than $1 million—were among the belongings of a deceased great-grandfather. The family, who wish to remain anonymous, were cleaning out the dilapidated home somewhere in the South when they discovered the memorabilia.

"The family did not know much about baseball cards, but they did recognize the name 'Ty Cobb' which gave them some hope that the cards might actually have some value,” wrote president of Professional Sports Authenticator, Joe Orlando. The California-based expert determined the cards were the real deal, after an initial appraisal was inconclusive.

The collector’s items were a surprise to the family who, as Orlando writes, don’t know if their great-grandfather ever collected baseball cards. He did, however, purchase tobacco for hand-rolled cigarettes and pipe smoking, which may be how he acquired the cards. The T206 series of cards was produced by the American Tobacco Company between 1909 and 1911.

Prior to this discovery, only 15 “T206 Ty Cobb with Ty Cobb back” cards were known to still exist. The reverse side of the cards contain the message: “Ty Cobb: King of the Smoking Tobacco World.”

The Hall of Famer spent most of his career with the Detroit Tigers, and his legendary status combined with the cards' limited edition release means that they are very rare—and very valuable. Orlando writes that in the past they’ve sold for over $150,000.

The cards are far from pristine (they were given a 3.5 to 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being mint condition), but that’s not bad for being over a century old.

Aside from their historical significance and thrilling payday, the so-called “Lucky Seven” cards have garnered attention for being a much-needed boost to card collecting, a pastime that’s seen a decline in recent years.

“I am not sure if any other baseball card find is more remarkable than this new discovery,” Orlando said in a statement. “This is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of our hobby."

Orlando expanded on that sentiment on the Professional Sports Authenticator website, writing: “Even though we live in the information age, the Internet age, undiscovered treasure is still buried out there. There is no question that these types of finds are few and far between. They are becoming more and more uncommon as time goes on, but until every attic is searched and every old box or bag examined, these finds represent the hope that all collectors dream about.”

Images from the Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain.

[h/t The Los Angeles Times]

Fox Sports, YouTube
Pop Culture
The Simpsons's Classic Baseball Episode Gets the Mockumentary Treatment
Fox Sports, YouTube
Fox Sports, YouTube

Opinions vary widely about the continued existence of The Simpsons, which just began its 29th season. Some believe the show ran out of steam decades ago, while others see no reason why the satirical animated comedy can’t run forever.

Both sides will no doubt have something to say about the episode airing Sunday, October 22, which reframes the premise of the show’s classic “Homer at the Bat” installment from 1992 as a Ken Burns-style mockumentary titled Springfield of Dreams: The Legend of Homer Simpson.

As Mashable reports, “Homer at the Bat” saw Montgomery Burns launch his own baseball team and populate it with real major league players like Wade Boggs, Steve Sax, and Jose Canseco to dominate the competition. In the one-hour special, the players will discuss their (fictional) participation, along with interviews featuring Homer and other members of the animated cast.

It’s not clear how much of the special will break the fourth wall and go into the actual making of the episode, a backstory that involves guest star Ken Griffey Jr. getting increasingly frustrated recording his lines and Canseco’s wife objecting to a scene in which her husband's animated counterpart wakes up in bed with lecherous schoolteacher Edna Krabappel.

Morgan Spurlock (Super-Size Me) directed the special, which is slated to air on Fox at either 3 p.m. EST or 4:30 p.m. EST depending on NFL schedules in local markets. There will also be a new episode of The Simpsons—an annual Halloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror" installment—airing in its regular 8 p.m. time slot.

[h/t Mashable]

Great Big Story, Youtube
Seattle Mariners Fans Are Going Crazy for These Crunchy Grasshopper Snacks
Great Big Story, Youtube
Great Big Story, Youtube

Seattle Mariners fans have more than warmed up to the newest, offbeat addition to the Safeco Field concessions menu: toasted grasshoppers covered in chili-lime salt.

The crunchy snack, which sells for $4 and comes packed in a small container, has only been available for less than a season but has already sold 300,000-plus orders to date. That's about 1000 pounds of grasshoppers. 

Frequenters of Seattle's popular Mexican restaurant Poquitos will know that this delicacy—which first started as a novelty item on its menu—has actually been available to the public for six years. But it wasn't until local chef Ethan Stowell was hired to give the Safeco Field menu a hip retooling that the salty bugs found new, fervent popularity at the ballpark. (Also on the Safeco menu: fried oysters drizzled in hot sauce.)

Great Big Story met up with Manny Arce, the executive chef of Poquitos and visionary behind this culinary home run, to discuss the popularity of these crunchy critters. You can watch the video interview below:


More from mental floss studios