1905 Ty Cobb vault-marked, game-used rookie bat sells for $1.1M

Ty Cobb

1905 Ty Cobb vault-marked, game-used rookie bat. Image courtesy of Grey Flannel Auctions

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The earliest known Ty Cobb bat in the hobby, dating back to the legendary baseball player’s 1905 rookie season, sold last week at Grey Flannel Auctions for $1,074,544. Bidding opened at $100,000. The 24th and final bid was placed in the early hours of Monday, November 14.

“The bat is historically significant not only because of Cobb’s monumental stature in baseball but also because it’s a game-used bat from his rookie season,” said Michael Russek, Director of Operations at Grey Flannel Auctions. “The knob and top barrel were vault-marked with the model number ‘C28,’ which ensured that the name of Ty Cobb would still be displayed even with additional factory writing on the bat.” The labeling period for Hillerich & Bradsby C28 bats was 1900-1905.

“The appearance of factory side writing that matches the name of the player branded into the bat is considered impeccable original provenance, in essence a letter of authenticity from the player and Hillerich & Bradsby’s iconic brand Louisville Slugger,” Russek said.

Public domain image of Ty Cobb

Public domain image of Ty Cobb

Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb, nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” went on to a Hall of Fame career. He set 90 Major League Baseball records and holds several to this day, including the highest career batting average (.366) and most career batting titles with 12. He still holds the career record for stealing home (54).

Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, the last six as the team’s player-manager. In 1936, he received the most votes of any player on the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, receiving 222 out of a possible 226 votes.

Russek noted, “The bat we sold is the finest known example and the only known rookie bat from perhaps the greatest player of all time. Ty Cobb played in 41 games and may have hit his first home run with the bat we auctioned. It’s a piece of living history.”

The bat was accompanied by a PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity grading the bat a perfect GU 10.

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