A sports memorabilia expert said seven Ty Cobb baseball cards from 1909-11 were discovered in a crumpled paper bag and nearly ended up in the trash.

Joe Orlando, president of Professional Sports Authenticator in Newport Beach, Calif., said Wednesday a family brought in the seven T206 Ty Cobb cards from a 1909-11 series after finding them earlier this year in a torn paper bag while cleaning out the home of a recently deceased great-grandfather.

The cards were concealed among postcards and various paper products, and they nearly ended up in the trash, Professional Sports Authenticator said.

Orlando said there were only 15 copies of the cards known to exist before the discovery.

"This is one of the greatest discoveries in the history of our hobby, involving one of the greatest rarities in baseball cards from arguably the most popular baseball card set ever produced," Orlando said.

He said the cards are likely to fetch a seven-figure sum.