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Lot # 296 (of 1673)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1909-1911 E90-1 American Caramel Joe Jackson

Starting Bid - $5,000.00 , Sold For - $19,975.00

When the old-time collector who called us with this card tried to explain that his PSA 7 Near Mint Joe Jackson was in a screw-down holder, we really just didn't know what he was talking about. He had never sold any cards from his personal collection before, but it was finally time to do so, and he explained to us that he purchased this card at the 1993 National Convention in Chicago, at the dawn of professional card grading, for $10,000. There apparently was no correct sized holder for the card, he told us, so it was sold to him in a screw-down holder with the PSA label on the reverse in the holder, and a special PSA sticker on the back explaining that there was no holder for the card. We still didn't know what he was talking about, but we were optimistic that the card was a Near Mint example of Joe Jackson's legendary rookie card from the E90-1 American Caramel Company set. The fact that E90-1s tend to be a little taller than tobacco cards made us think that maybe, in the earliest days of grading, a full-sized E90-1 would not fit in a PSA holder designed for a T206 card, and this alternative holder was utilized for a few cards. We asked for the certification number on the PSA label to look it up (06017427) and we found that this cert number did indeed correspond to a PSA 7 NM E90-1 Joe Jackson, and it was the only example graded at this level. Naturally, we were encouraged!

The owner explained to us that not only had the card never been taken out of the screw-down holder, but when he purchased it, the screw-down holder was in a plastic bag that was sealed with clear tape. He had never even broken the seal of the tape and removed the holder from the plastic bag, and had kept the card in the bank since his purchase. We asked him to Federal Express us the card. The next day it arrived.

There was a problem. In our opinion, unfortunately, the card was trimmed. It was a beautiful card, and certainly extremely valuable even trimmed. But we clearly had a situation here that was unprecedented. Our consignor was relieved that his card was authentic, but upset that we thought that the card was trimmed. This card lists for $65,000 in the SMR Near Mint condition, and would probably sell for a considerably higher sum in true Near Mint condition. We sent a scan of the card to Joe Orlando, president of PSA. He was unfamiliar with this style of encapsulation. He requested that we have it sent to him for review. Upon receipt, and review by PSA graders, the card was determined to be trimmed, and PSA offered to encapsulate the card as "Authentic," or return the card exactly as received in its screw-down holder. It was not an option to offer a buy back at the current SMR value, simply because the card was in a screw-down holder, not an encapsulated PSA holder. Theoretically it could have been removed from the screw-down holder, and trimmed or switched at any time since being graded in 1993, including by the dealer who sold the card to our consignor. With a card that is in a screw-down holder, as opposed to encapsulated in a permanently sealed holder, anything is possible. Personally, we think that this is the same card that is represented by the accompanying PSA certification label in the holder, and that nothing has happened to this card since it was graded. In the "dinosaur days of grading" there were no doubt a few mistakes made here and there, and the grading and sale of this card dates from the dawn of professional grading when standards were a little different, and experience was far less. Even the fact that this (or any) card should ever be encapsulated in a screw-down holder speaks volumes about how early this was in the evolution of professional grading. Our opinion is that this is a card that was misgraded long ago. It is even possible that the PSA graders at the time realized that this was a trimmed card, but thought it was such a nice card that "it would be sacrilegious" to call it trimmed. (Hey, that was a joke!) This is a gorgeous card. It is bright and clean and fresh, both front and back, with a flawless surface, a boldly printed reverse, and perfect registration. Given the option of offering the card in a PSA "Authentic" holder, or in the PSA 7 NM screw-down holder in which he bought it in back in 1993, our consignor has elected to offer it exactly as he bought it. Though it is a trimmed card, in some ways it is the moral equivalent of a PSA 7 example, as it does represent the PSA 7 Joe Jackson rookie card in the PSA population report. This is an outstanding card that would be well received in any holder. While our consignor was not happy to learn that there was any issue with the condition of his card, he was delighted to learn our opinion that the card, if offered properly described, would almost certainly be valued by collectors at more than the $10,000 he paid for it back in 1993, and that we would be very happy to present it for him at auction. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000+. SOLD FOR $19,975.00


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