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Old 12-02-2017, 10:46 AM
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Default Ty Cobb 1907 rare rookie postcards - Their origin stories told

Here is the story behind two of the rarest of Ty Cobb's 1907 rookie postcards. I'll start with what is the least well known of Cobb's 1907 postcards, the H.M. Taylor Wild Bill Donovan Floral Horseshoe Lafond version.

Floral-Horseshoe-front-Net-54-1.jpg


It depicts Donovan receiving a floral horseshoe during the September 30, 1907 Tigers game at Philadelphia when his Philadelphia fans presented him with this token of their appreciation. A youthfully exuberant Cobb is at the far right. The regular version does not contain "By permission of M.A. Lafond & Co...." overprint. So how did this Lafond version come to be and how was it distributed?

Lafond was a cigar store in Detroit. They advertised on the Bennett Park wall as shown below.

LaFond-Bennett-Park-Ad-Net54-6.jpg

The Lafonds were related by marriage to Wild Bill Donovan and as the October 23 edition of The Tobacco Leaf (a tobacco trade magazine) shows they displayed the Donovan Floral Horseshoe in their shop window in Detroit.

Tobacco-Leaf-page-croped-Net54.jpg

Tobacco-Leaf-page-article-Net54-5.jpg Window-Net54-3.jpg

The floral horseshoe game was September 30th and by October 5th the Horseshoe was on display at LaFonds as shown in the Detroit Free Press of October 6th.

Detroit_Free_Press_Sun__Oct_6__1907_-(1)-Net54-7.jpg

This October 11 LaFond ad in the Detroit Free Press shows the exhibition from the window was already gone.

DFP-10-11-07-windowNet54.jpg

This ad for the H.M. Taylor set was advertised in the October 16th Detroit Free Press.

DFP-10-16-17-HM-Taylor-Ad-Net54.jpg

Here is the front cover of the Detroit Free Press from October 6th when the Tigers clinched the A.L. pennant. It is the first use of this famous photo I can find and variations of the photo were used on numerous 1907 Tigers postcards.

DFP-10-6-07-front-pageNet-54.jpg

The earliest postmark I can find on any H.M. Taylor Tiger postcard is about October 10, 1907 when the World Series against the Cubs was being played. A shot of Chance in the Tigers dugout before the World Series commenced is a part of the set. Thus it stands to reason that the H.M. Taylor set was issued during the 1907 World Series and that the Lafond version of the Floral Horseshoe postcard was overprinted especially for the LaFond store and only distributed by them at their store the week of the display or for a short time afterward. This would explain extreme scarcity of this variation.

Now for the second half of the story. Look at the LaFond window image at the extreme right. We see what looks to be an uncut sheet of the 1907 Dietsche Tigers. Look closer, we can see the rare Fielding Cobb on the bottom row second from the left, but there is no Cobb batting version on the sheet. Remember, this was on display October 5th.

Tobacco-Leaf-page-Dietsche-cropNet-54-4.jpg

Here are October 6th Detroit Free Press ads showing the Dietsche poses, including the Cobb Fielding.

DFP-10-6-07-left-Net54.jpg DFP-10-6-07-right-Net54.jpg

Now look at these pages from the October 11th Detroit Free Press advertising the Dietsche set. The uncut sheet here shows the Cobb batting, but not Cobb Fielding. it stands to reason the Batting replaced the Fielding early in the print run, probably in a matter of a week. This would explain the relative scarcity of the Cobb Fielding as opposed to the Cobb Batting.

DFP-10-11-07-DietscheNet54.jpg

If anyone has any information to add about any of these rare 1907 Cobb postcards I'd love to hear from you!


Last edited by T206Jim; 12-02-2017 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:25 AM
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Great post!
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:46 AM
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It also states they sell full sets on a single sheet. I never seen one of them before. Has an uncut sheet ever been in a major auction ?
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:29 PM
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I had an uncut sheet of the images, on postcard stock, but I cannot remember if they had postcard backs, , that found its way to a major Cobb collector about 25 years ago. It was a 3 party deal, I did not have direct contact with the collector, sorry.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:49 PM
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I've seen uncut sheets from the 1908 set ( this is a reprint sheet on ebay ), not 1907 or 1909.
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File Type: jpg dietsche poster.jpg (70.4 KB, 442 views)
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:13 PM
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Fantastic stuff, Jim, as always.

That window display is amazing.

-Al
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:33 PM
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Jim: I see 15 postcards in the window display, seems like something is covering the lower right corner. What is it ? I wonder if their was another card that we can't see ( Cobb batting ??? ) We will only know for sure if someone produces this uncut sheet. The window display ( cobb fielding) and the offered sheet ( cobb batting) are different.
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Last edited by insidethewrapper; 12-02-2017 at 01:37 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-02-2017, 01:47 PM
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There are only 15 cards there, the bottom right spot is a white plug that probably contains written advertising. The Coughlin above it has white dirt showing which blends into the plug and gives the false impression the lower slot is covering part of the sheet.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:25 PM
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Awesome research and a great post. Thank you for sharing it.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:11 PM
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Jim, if the whole Judge career thing doesn't work out, you can be my private investigator any time. Awesome research. I think you confirmed the long-standing suspicion that the Fielding came first and was quickly replaced by the Batting.
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