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Rare Ty Cobb Tobacco Tin Found in Home

A rare Ty Cobb tobacco tin was squirreled away in a hidden compartment in a closet for decades. It has now surfaced and will be in a December auction conducted by Memory Lane.

Universally considered the “King of All Tobacco Tins,” the Ty Cobb Tobacco tin is a collector’s equivalent to striking oil or finding a gold mine. Fewer than a dozen examples are known to exist. The rare tin that once held a supply of tobacco for a very active market of users more than a century ago features the legendary baseball great Ty Cobb posing with a bat. The image is virtually identical to one of Cobb’s T206 tobacco trading cards. Further, when the tin package was on the market, consumers found a Cobb baseball card inside with what’s now recognized as an ultra-scarce “Cobb Tobacco” advertisement on the back.

Cobb Tin Scan

The variation from the iconic card set is desirable but the tin is even harder to find and highly sought after by collectors. Now, Memory Lane Inc. will offer an opportunity to bid for one of the hobby’s most rare treasures in its upcoming December auction.

Most collectors like to learn the story behind a hot new find and this one is fascinating. The Ty Cobb Tobacco Tin (circa 1910) was discovered during the remodeling of a home back in 2006. It was tucked away in a hidden access door that was located in the back of a closet. Its owner was oblivious to its astounding scarcity and value until he saw a recent TV show featuring an identical tin. After offering it briefly on eBay, the seller decided to turn it over to Memory Lane.

The tobacco tin collecting hobby is a very popular and sophisticated field of collecting in its own right. The Ty Cobb Tobacco tin is recognized in the non-baseball advertising world as one of the most desirable and important rarities of all tobacco tins, baseball or otherwise.

Early tins tend to be subject to considerable wear in the form of scratches, rust, and denting. Flaws as well as oxidation are common and expected with early tins. The one scheduled for auction shows wear, but is one of the finest known examples.

Memory Lane’s Winter Classics auction is set to launch Dec. 3 and close two weeks later. To register for the auction, learn more about the Cobb tin and receive a full color catalog, contact Memory Lane via their website ( or call (714) 730-0600.

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