Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Skydash Find

No. This can't be real. One afternoon, several weeks back, I was checking out my favorite collector forum- Net 54 Vintage Baseball Card Forum. Some of the most informed collectors and dealers in the country frequent this site.

On that day a new poster, using the name Skydash55, chimed in claiming to have inherited a large collection of vintage baseball cards. He was looking for some guidance about its worth and direction about what he should do with them.
“I just inherited approx. 1,200 t206 cards and 157 colgan “tin tops.” The cards are from about 1900-1910 and there are around 15 different cig. companies. I don’t know where to start!”
As you can imagine many folks were skeptical. How many times have we heard about a great find- especially a T206 Honus Wagner find- that turn out to be fakes or elaborate scams.

Fortunately for Skydash the cards are as real as you and me.
It turned out that Skydash lives in upstate South Carolina, as does one of the veteran board members, Brian Weisner. Between the help from Weisner and numerous other board members, the gradual postings slowly uncovered the inevitable – some of the rarest, high-grade E270 Colgan’s Chips Tin Tops in existence...

The excitement reached epic proportions when he posted some blurry images, one which appeared to be the one of the rarest cards in the entire set. (See the Jim Thorpe above)

“THORPE TIN TOP!!!” one board member typed.

“Sure looks like Thorpe!” was the post made by another member. By now, the major auction houses began to take notice of what was going on...
From my understanding, there is only one other Thorpe in existence, and it resides in the personal collection of Larry Fritsch, a legendary veteran card collector and dealer. (Update: I recently read that there are actually 3 known Thorpe's and now there are 4. This Thorpe is by far the best condition tin top in the hobby.)

The best part about these kind of discoveries is the story behind the find.
His wife’s grandfather, who originally owned the cards and was a collector, passed away in 1964.

“When he died, my father-in-law and mother-in-law drove to the funeral and arrived a day early,” said Skydash55. “When he passed, he had four boxes. Two of the boxes contained the baseball cards and Tin Tops. The other two boxes contained memorabilia – uniforms and signed baseballs, including a Babe Ruth game-worn, signed jersey.

“But, when my father-in-law arrived at the house, he was going through his things and asked where his baseball cards were. They told him they were thrown away, that they were just trash. So he literally went to the trash dump and dug those things out, but he only found the cards. He didn’t find the uniforms.”
Man-O-Live! A Babe Ruth game used uniform?

The cards will auctioned through Mastro in their upcoming December auction. BTW, Skydash's collection is valued at over $1 million and the Jim Thorpe above will easily reach 6 figures, and then some.

Skydash photos of the collection:
Pic Link: Net 54:
Story Link: SCD:

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