The White & Gold-Vintage Tobacco Card Collection Featuring Ty Cobb

Watch the Video of the Tobacco Cards
  • May 20, 2014
It is perhaps the most popular set of baseball cards known to man. It contains the Honus Wagner “Holy Grail” card that has sold for millions of dollars. Some cards in the set are so rare they are hardly ever  seen. The set was produced over a century ago, and continues to gain more interest every year that passes by. Collectors dream of compiling this complete set, regardless of condition.  It is the T206 Set, and Just Collect just bought a collection from a collector in New Jersey. The seller noted:

"I had heard very good things about Just Collect. I had a moderate collection of vintage cards to sell.  They walked me through the process of valuing my collection and then made what I feel was a very fair offer.  Try Just Collect, you won't be disappointed"

Granted, the collection we just bought didn’t include the Wagner card, but it did however, include Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Hughie Jennings, Eddie Collins, and John McGraw – which we are sending out to PSA this week to get graded. Like the majority of cards found from this era, they are not in mint condition, but are in the desirable “Good to Very Good/Excellent” range – and extremely valuable to the hobby. The most common backs found in the T206 set would be Piedmont and Sweet Caporal, which account for about half of the current population. Some other tough and more desirable backs for T206 include Polar Bear, American Beauty, and El Principe De Gales (EPDG), which together, account for less than five percent of T206 cards in circulation. That is exactly the reason why this collection was so attractive to us, as it included a nice mix of all five of these T206 backs. The best card in this collection has to be the Ty Cobb, which features him standing in his Detroit uniform, with his bat off his shoulder. This variation is one of the most popular of the four found in the set. The example from this collection has a Sweet Caporal back, and falls somewhere into the VG to VG/EX range of condition. Another awesome card from this collection is the Cy Young. The Young, like the Cobb, has a few different variations in the set, and the one from this collection happens to be the rarest of the three. It features Young with his glove hand showing, on a Sweet Caporal back, and would probably grade out at VG. Both of these cards are a must have for any collector in the hobby, and will add tremendous value to a collection. Check out the tremendous eye appeal in the video.


Ok, enough about those Sweet Cap backs, let’s get into those rarer backs that you are dying to see. We’ll start with the American Beauty’s. If you are an American Beauty collector, you already know about the scarcity of this back. But for the layman, let’s review. Unlike the Sweet Caporal & Peidmont backs, T206 cards found with American Beauty backs are considered a delicacy. They make up LESS THAN ONE PERCENT of all T206 cards – and we have four beautiful examples. Another interesting note about the American Beauty backs, is that you’ll see some that are “framed” versus not framed, and that there are versions that state “350 subjects” versus “460 subjects”. Now in terms of PSA cataloging, these types of different Beauty backs are all lumped together, but as for collectors, they sure know which type they are looking for. 


 Another semi-rare back from the T206 set would be the Polar Bear back – and it’s probably the most distinct. While most others don the beige back with colored writing, this back features an almost complete “Black” back with white lettering, which we find to be really appealing. The Polar Bear back makes up about only three percent of T206 cards in the hobby, and we were lucky enough to land this example in our recent purchase.  


Odds are, that if you are just an average collector or fan of the hobby, you have never seen (or heard) of the El Principe De Gales back found in the T206 set. To be clear, it’s definitely not as rare as the Drum or Hindu back, but it’s pretty close. Just like the American Beauty backs, they make up less than one percent of all T206’s ever graded by PSA – which is pretty incredible. So that, paired with the set’s age and reputation, makes for a strong demand of EPDG backs throughout the hobby. Check out this almost perfectly-centered example, from the recent collection we bought.


Another reason that this collection was appealing was because it also included a few dozen T205 tobacco cards – you know, those really tough gold bordered cards. As you may have guessed, finding these cards in high grade is rare, as the gold borders are prone to chipping and wear. What’s really neat about this set, is how they differentiated between the American and National League players. You’ll notice that all of the National Leaguers cards show just “portrait shots”, whereas the American Leaguers got the portrait shot within a diamond frame made out of baseball equipment. Like T206s, the common backs would include Sweet Caporal and Piedmont, and below are a few examples of what we acquired. We are anxious to see how these will grade out with PSA.     It was another successful purchase for the team of vintage card experts at Just Collect. Even though it wasn't the biggest of T206 collections, the staff was excited for all of the stars, Hall of Famers, and unique backs that were in this collection. When you are ready to sell your collection of T206 cards, be sure to call Just Collect for a free appraisal! Not only will we let you know what your collection is worth, we'd be able to make you a cash offer for your collection within 48 hours!    


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