From Trash to Treasure T206 Collection Includes Ty Cobb and Rare Backs

1909-1911 T206 Cards Were Saved from a Local Dump!
  • January 20, 2022

T206 Lennox

A story you always dream of - finding rare and valuable baseball cards in the trash.  This actually happened to a collector who wanted to sell his "Trash to Treasure" collection of cards to us here at Just Collect.  Unbelievably a small batch of 1909-1911 T206 cards found in a LANDFILL includes Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and rare backs!

Sometimes you find old sports cards in unexpected places. I've purchased collections like Babe Ruth cards found inside of a wall and a Mickey Mantle rookie card that was stored with jars of pickles. This may be the first collection I've purchase that was found in a LANDFILL!  I'm proud to now own the Trash To Treasures T206 Collection.  Saved from the dump: 1909-1911 T206 Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and cards with rare backs!


  • Found in a variety of tobacco products between 1909 and 1911
  • The first mass-produced set of baseball cards
  • 524 cards in the set
  • 38 Hall of Famers featured  - variations bring the total to 76 cards of Hall of Famers
  • 16 different backs 
  • Contains the "Holy Grail" of cards: Honus Wagner. The most valuable card sale ever belongs to the T206 Honus Wagner at 6.6 million dollars! 

As one of the most iconic and desired card sets, even non-star player cards are sought after. Some cards are more rare than others depending on the back of the card; the back of each card contains an ad promoting the tobacco company of the product the card was placed in.  Here are the various backs:



You can see more information about this incredible set along with information on the rarities of the backs here.


T206 2

When Bruce began collecting baseball cards when he was around 7 or 8-years-old, buying cards with the money he received from working his paper route. The time was 1975 when your music came from an 8-track and you made every major decision by shaking your Magic 8 Ball.  Bruce's uncle found construction paper covered with a yellow see-through plastic at the local landfill in Stoughton, MA. On the cardboard were T206 baseball cards. Bruce's uncle passed along the baseball cards to him to add to his collection.  While looking at the names on each card, Bruce couldn't believe his eyes!  

Ty Cobb, the Bat off the Shoulder variation (top row, center), and TWO Christy Mathewson cards (top row, left, and bottom row, left) were on the cardboard! Did you know that in the first-ever Baseball Hall of Fame voting (1936) that Christy Mathewson was voted in while Ty Cobb was not?  Cobb was inducted on his second try in 1937.

Thankfully the plastic over the construction paper had preserved the cards pretty well. Unfortunately, the cards were GLUED to the construction paper.  This practice was common back in the early days of card collecting, before cards were considered valuable and placed in protective holders for safe storing.  Always ask a professional like me here at Just Collect before you pull apart any cards that may have been glued to another surface; I want to help preserve your valuable collection as much as possible!  How cards were handled in 1975 is vastly different from how we treat cards today, though - especially for a kid no more than 8!  When pulling the glued cards away from the cardboard, Bruce and his uncle revealed one of the cards as having a LENOX back, which is one of the more rare T206 card backs.

T206 Backs

You can see the Lenox back in the top right!  The PSA Population report has only 278 cards graded with a Lenox back.  For comparison, one of the non-rare backs, like Piedmont, has 104,952 cards graded. Despite the paper loss on the cards, the front of each card, especially (and thankfully!) the Cobb and Mathewson cards are still in good condition.  The Lenox back also looks very nice!  Vintage cards that are rare or of Hall of Fame players can still be valuable despite certain damage like this paper loss.  I recently purchased a Babe Ruth card that was "bitten" - a corner was torn off!  Despite the damage, the card is still a Babe Ruth and is valuable.

I can only imagine that a young collector's mom cleaned up the bedroom and threw out the "trash" like so many of our moms did when we were kids.  Did the kid forget to clean his room and mom throwing out the cards was punishment?  Forget to feed the dog?  Break a window playing stickball? 

Since that day, though, nearly 50 years later -  these cards have stayed in Bruce's family since the day his uncle saved them from the dump.  


I'm proud to have purchased the From Trash to Treasure T206 card collection here at Just Collect!  

I always offer a FREE APPRAISAL for your collection here at  the Just Collect site. Just click here:



We offer many ways to appraise your collection!

  • SHIP your collection 

If you choose to mail your cards for an appraisal, we will evaluate your cards for FREE still. If you choose not to sell the cards, we'll ship them back shipping fees paid by us!  We can offer our FedEx account with 2-day shipping, fully insured, all covered by us. Simply contact the office to set up this option.  You can read about a beautiful 1955 All-American Football card collection I purchased by appraising it through the mail here.

  • Travel to me

If you can make the trip here - we can make a deal at the office. I once met a father-son duo that drove eight hours from Virginia to meet me to sell a Michael Jordan rookie card stored in Tupperware since 1986 - great read here

  • Come to convention

I keep a LIST of card shows we'll be attending.  Come stop by the Just Collect table and chat.

  • Meet in-person

If you have a valuable collection and want me to come to you, I'll hop on the next plane out.


After reviewing and appraising Bruce's collection, I made him a fair offer that he accepted.  I then paid Bruce how he wanted to be paid!  If you and I agree to purchase you collection, I'll pay you how you're most comfortable - cash, check, money order, bitcoin, NFT's, even a stack of construction paper for you to glue your valuable cards to!  ...kidding - don't ever do that.

Just take one more second to let this collection sink in: T206 cards with two Hall of Famers and a rare back were found in a dump. It's a baseball card treasure hunter's dream.

I have purchased many T206 collections with rare cards, and rare backs.  This Father-Son Duo Collection had a HINDU back! The Fairy Godmother Find included the ultra-rare Eddie Plank T206 card (only 78 on the PSA population report!).  Your local card shop is never equipped to appraise or purchase vintage collections like the Bruce's. The retail stores are focused on selling modern products and simply don't have the time or the knowledge to carefully evaluate vintage collections. This is where I'm happy to help you. My name is Leighton,  owner of Just Collect and vintage card specialist. If you have a collection you're interested in selling, I'd love to hear from you.  Don't hesitate to reach out to!


Just Collect is always buying vintage sports and non-sports cards from 1879 to 1979 as well as select modern cards. If you have a collection that you are considering selling, contact us today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your collection and help you understand the real cash value of your collection in the current marketplace. Check out the Just Collect Buy List


We've run into a wide range of people and collections over the last 25 years. Although Just Collect is known for buying vintage sports cards and especially vintage baseball cards, we are also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and we treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. We understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, we understand the feelings that you're going through and will work with you to help you reach a decision that is a WIN/WIN, because if you're not happy, we're not happy.


Whether you have vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to us any time! 


Recent Posts

Yankees Hall of Fame Catcher Highlights Vintage Baseball Card Purchase

Just Collect Booth Numbers for the 2024 National in Ohio

Vintage Cards of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle & Hall of Fame Autos Purchased