Lot # 329: 1914 Cracker Jack #103 Shoeless Joe Jackson High-Number SGC 4 VG-EX

Category: 1900-1920

Starting Bid: $30,000.00

Bids: 21 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "Spring 2024 Rarities Auction",
which ran from 4/11/2024 9:00 AM to
5/4/2024 7:00 PM

(LOT 329)
1914 Cracker Jack #103 Shoeless Joe Jackson High-Number SGC 4 VG-EX

SHOELESS JOE CANDY TREAT!!! One of the most revered baseball cards on the planet is the 1914 Cracker Jack "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, with this spectacular SGC 4 VG-EX example being one of only 25 listed on the prestigious SGC census report. One of a meager four specimens at this highly coveted plateau, less than ten copies have managed to surpass this mid-grade assessment (including the famous SGC 10 GEM MINT Stuckmeyer Jackson), a bona fide testament to the condition sensitivity of most 1914 Cracker subjects. Entombed with sticky caramel corn, 1914 E145-1 Cracker Jacks commonly reveal unsightly caramel stains, leading to an extreme shortage of aesthetically pleasing 1914 subjects. While the 1915 cards could be obtained as a set via a mail order redemption process, the only methodology for capturing 1914 cards was to pull them directly from the Cracker Jack box (resulting in serious surface staining). Whether it is his "Shoeless" or Black Sox legacy, every avid enthusiast yearns to own a Joe Jackson card from his playing days. His sudden departure from the game after the 1920 season limited the number of Jackson cards on the market. Save for his rookie card, most would agree that his most desirable issue is Jackson's exalted 1914 Cracker Jack #103 subject. While the same Jackson card was likewise released in 1915, the 1914 version is his true inaugural Cracker Jack, justifying the insatiable craze for owning the 1914 Jackson.

Only the incomparable Babe Ruth can boast the myriad of baseball anecdotes applied to the great Joe Jackson including "Shoeless Joe", "Black Betsy" and one of the most famous quotes in baseball history, "Say it ain't so Joe!" Jackson's legacy began before he played in his first MLB game with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1908, leading to his likewise exalted 1909 E90-1 American Caramel rookie. While playing with the Greenville Spinners of the Carolina Association (also in 1908), Jackson developed painful blisters due to breaking in a new pair of spikes. The next game he played without shoes, with only his black stockings covering his feet. During the game, as he rounded third base after hitting a long home run, one fan finally noticed and shouted, "You shoeless sonofagun!" A sportswriter picked up on this, printed it the next day, and the "Shoeless Joe" legend was officially born.

After entering the Major Leagues, Jackson's hitting dominance continued to emerge for both the Cleveland and Chicago American clubs to the tune of a .356 lifetime average, with the immortal left-handed slugger posting a stellar .338 mark the year this card was issued. Unfortunately, Jackson's outstanding batting run was tragically cut short when he was banned from baseball forever by Judge Mountain Landis for, allegedly, taking part in throwing the 1919 World Series. In lieu of this, Jackson was never placed in the HOF; however, due to the Black Sox scandal, his popularity has increased profoundly. This phenomenon is exhibited time and time again, with each passing sale of his prized cardboard issues reflecting lofty prices, including Jackson's 1909 Caramel Rookie, 1916 M101-4/5s, 1917 Boston Store/Collins McCarthy scarcities, and of course, any of his world-class 1914 Cracker Jack subjects. Justifying this notion is the exact same offered card realizing $120K nearly two years ago (August 2022), with another 4 VG-EX example fetching $150K in July 2023. Even a lower grade SGC 2.5 boasts a $96K May 2021 pricing point, and considering the Jackson Cracker Jack continues to spiral upwards in value, there appears to be no bounds for its seemingly unlimited investment potential.

Exhibiting virtual near-mint aesthetics, Jackson's remarkable hitting prowess is portrayed in a classic Jackson batting image of Shoeless Joe's follow-through after hitting another scalding line drive via his famous Black Betsy. The same image later utilized on his 1916 M101 subjects (full body pose), this half-bust batting illustration reveals spectacular contrast and crystal-clear clarity, set against a fire engine red background. The top-to-bottom centering is virtually dead-on 50/50, somewhat compromised by the image favoring the left edge between four relatively clean borders. Strong square corners are consistent with an EX-MT grade, and atypical for any 1914 Cracker Jack subject, no obtrusive stains are evident on either side, with only some faint traces of the original candy corn barely visible under close scrutiny. Aside from the virtually absent staining, no additional glaring surface flaws are apparent, and while there might be a faint wrinkle under heavy magnification, related defects have miraculously eluded the naked eye. The only flaw possibly downgrading this card to a rather harsh 4 assessment is a slight wavy surface near the lower left edge that does not compromise the hallowed Jackson central image. One of the finest mid-grade Jackson 1914 Cracker Jacks extant, the timeless Shoeless Joe illustration, relatively clean surfaces, and surrounding edges are far more consistent with a 5 EX example. Most significantly, the rather obscure VG-EX grade and resounding Jackson batting pose literally steal the show; and while we would not expect the most passionate hobbyist to clear their property to build a "Field of Dreams", if you bid strong this iconic 1914 Joe Jackson Cracker Jack will come!

MIN BID $30,000

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