I dealt in baseball cards for several years beginning as a teen-ager in pre-internet times, but the best material often stretched out of my price range. Movie cards and collectibles offered an affordable alternative for me and any collector who has been kind enough to be my customer.
I typically close my movie card pitch by saying something to the effect of being able to buy dozens of old Charlie Chaplin cards for the price of, say, one beat-up Babe Ruth card.
There are exceptions to every rule.
Now technically this Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle card is a baseball card. Yes, this is our same beloved Fatty who shared many hi-jinks with Buster and Mabel before running into a little career shattering scandal in 1921. But before that, back in May of 1919 Roscoe Arbuckle purchased a baseball team, the Vernon Tigers of the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Now back in a time when major league baseball stretched no further west than St. Louis the PCL was a pretty big deal.
The Zeenuts baseball card sets were issued between 1911-1938 and featured exclusively players from the Pacific Coast League. The 1919 set featured the Tigers' owner as well.
Hakes Americana & Collectibles is auctioning an SGC 10 graded example of the Arbuckle card in its Auction #204 closing November 8, 2011. The extremely attractive and very rare card features Arbuckle in uniform taking a big mock bite out of a baseball. It's really one of the most attractive card poses I've ever run across.
I've never personally handled any Zeenuts and interested parties would do better to check out some of the very informative baseball card forums around the net for more info before bidding. I'm naive enough to have spotted it while paging through my auction catalog and finding my curiosity piqued by the low grade, 10 on a 100 point scale, and the seemingly high minimum bid, $500, I circled the lot to check in on later. Well, logging into my Hakes account I was stunned to see demand had already jumped the price from the minimum up to $2,795.10 as of this writing!
A better graded example of the card, a SGC 40, has previously been sold by Robert Edward Auctions for $5,288. Oh, the SGC 40 is a 1 of 1, which to the uninitiated means it was the top graded example of this card ever graded by the company! Suddenly that SGC 10 seems a bit more attractive!
You can bid on the SGC 10 example of the 1919 Zeenut Fatty Arbuckle card at Hake's Auction #204 here.
November 9, 2011 Update: The Hake's Americana sale of the SGC 10 1919 Zeenut Fatty Arbuckle card has now closed and final price including 15% buyer premium has nearly doubled the high estimate: Sold for $3,921.50
The Hake's card is pictured both above and immediately below.
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle Gallery
A little reward for those of you having made it to the bottom of this post. A gallery of the Roscoe Arbuckle movie card and collectible images I had on file. As a little added feature this time I've included values and prices realized inside this gallery. I'll just say that if you used your Zeenut money on these you'd have quite a bit of change leftover! Some of these are pretty rare too. They've all since sold and I'm always on the lookout for more:
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle on eBay
Picture Play 3 1917 William S Hart Douglas Fairbanks Fatty Arbuckle VG
Time Remaining: 21h 20m
Buy It Now for only: $383.50
Out West 1918 Fatty Arbuckle Buster Keaton Lobby Card
Time Remaining: 1d 10h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $400.00
JAN 18 1919 MOVING PICTURE WORLD 137 pages WHY GERMANY SHOULD PAY Fatty Arbuckle
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $121.99
ROSCOE FATTY ARBUCKLE Vintage 1917 Silent Film BUSTER KEATON Movie Press Sheet
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 4m
Buy It Now for only: $105.00