The iconic 1914 Joe Jackson Cracker Jack.
Photo by Love of the Game Auctions
Two non-collectors have hit the jackpot while following similar routes to riches. A rare 1914 Joe Jackson Crack Jack baseball card and a 1925 baseball signed by the two all-time great pitchers Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson are affording them unexpected wealth in a Love of the Game auction that closes November 30.
I hereby dub the freshly graded card “The Eternal Joe Jackson” because of its magical qualities.
Notes Love of the Game:
- “Consigned by a non-collecting family, as is the case with cards like this, it carries an interesting backstory. The story begins in 1922, when its owner, a six-year-old boy, sadly passed away. 70 years later, descendants of the youngster made their annual pilgrimage to a local cemetery to pay respects to departed family members.
- The young daughter of the family took a keen interest in the story of her great uncle, and in an effort to teach a life lesson, her parents retrieved a small box from the attic, inherited by the family, which contained all the earthly belongings of the young boy. In an effort to teach the girl how much easier children of today have things, in comparison with pre-Depression youngsters, they took out the box and reviewed its contents: a ball, five jacks, a handwritten note, three stamps, and one single baseball card: a 1914 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson.”
The show-and-tell in 1992 about great-uncle Harlan from Washington state left the daughter with a powerful life lesson. Eventually, the family, mainly consisting of two sisters, drove from northern to southern California for a family vacation to submit the card in person to PSA. For many years, it remained in locked a safe deposit box; remaining a secret to the hobby— till now.
Despite being in a Cracker Jack box, this card is re relatively free of stains.
Photo by Love of the Game Auctions
The 1914 Cracker Jacks carry a premium of two or three times the 1915 set because they were only available in packages of the caramel popcorn rather than being available through mail-order. This Jackson is remarkably clean, given its exposure to the sticky stuff. It is also extremely well centered for the issue. Twenty five bids have pushed it to $29,000. When I spoke to him a few days ago, Al Crisafulli, the auction house owner, said he wouldn’t be surprised if it commands at least $30,000 by his auction’s end on November, 30. It appears that it will go much higher.
The 1914 Cracker Jackson has always been an iconic card because of its beauty and the ballplayer’s infrequent appearance in other issues. Jackson was of course was of the best hitters ever (.356 career average) and banned from baseball because of the Black Sox scandal 100 years ago. The classic film, Field of Dreams, burnished his legacy.
Meanwhile, the same auction features a rare, fresh-to-the-hobby multi-signed baseball with both Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. “Authenticated by PSA/DNA, the baseball likely dates to Spring Training of 1925, when all but one of the baseball’s 14 signatories are confirmed to have been in the Tampa area on the same March weekend,” Love of the Game notes. “Within a few weeks, Mathewson had returned to his home in Saranac,NY to nurse the illness to which he would ultimately succumb; this is likely one of the last baseballs he signed.”
Crisafulli expects the extreme rarity to surpass $10,000. So far, there are only two bids, placing the current price at $3,250
The consignor, a fan of antique and thrift shops, kept the ball in a drawer since she paid a song for it at a flea market in the 1980s. She, like the Jackson card owners, submitted it for authentication in person on a family vacation to southern California last winter rather than take the risk of shipping it.
Both the Jackson card and signed ball, notes Crisafulli, are “once-in-a-lifetime finds, exactly the kind of thing we collectors dream about!”
Christy Mathewson signed baseballs are extremely rare.
Photo by Love of the Game AuctionsSource