Ty Cobb and Rare Backs Highlight a Father-Son T206 Collection Purchase

Small Collection Packed a Big Punch
  • April 16, 2021

When a customer asked Just Collect if we'd be interested in purchasing a T206 tobacco card of Ty Cobb, we naturally were very interested. After speaking together, the owner also offered a few other cards from the same collection that not only included names like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, but also T206 cards with RARE backs!  Check out a small collection that packed a big punch.

When our acquisition specialist, John Palomares, received a message from our free appraisal link about a sports card collection that a father and son in Arizona was interested in selling, he was very intrigued based on the photo the collectors provided; a T206 Ty Cobb the first card pictured.  Just Collect is always buying vintage cards of stars such as Cobb!  To boot, also in the photo was a 1966 Topps Willie Mays, a 1970 Topps Pete Rose, and key cards from the 1976 Topps baseball set.  While speaking on the phone together, the father asked John if we'd be interested in a few other cards he owned as well.  It turns out the father and son had more T206 cards that included another Hall of Famer and cards with RARE backs!


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This is the exact photo the dad sent Just Collect.  The father owned the T206 Ty Cobb you see in the top left, bat ON shoulder version.  His son got into cards in the 1970's and owned other stars you see.  Along with these cards, the collecting duo also owned the following:

  • Complete 1976 Topps Baseball set that includes
    • Rookie card of Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley
    • Last card of Hank Aaron in his playing days
    • Second-year cards of Hall of Famers George Brett & Robin Yount
    • 46 different cards that feature a Hall of Famer! 
  • 1964 Topps Mickey Mantle that looks amazing
  • 1970 Topps Pete Rose
  • 1966 Topps Willie Mays
  • About 20 T206 tobacco cards

You know about the Ty Cobb sparking our interest in making an offer to the Father and Son for their initial list of cards, but when we got a look at the remaining cards we found another Hall of Famer in the T206 lot as wells as two cards with RARE backs!

  • T206 Tris Speaker
  • T206 with an AMERICAN BEAUTY back
  • T206 with a HINDU back


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1976 was a great time for the son to begin his collection; pops got him in at the right time!  In '76, Topps released all of their baseball cards in ONE series!  When you opened that red wrapper with the baseball on it and chewed on that white-speckled gum, you knew you could get any player from the set.  Topps baseball cards are were often and still released at different times, in "series", with the later series being released at the end of Summer and into the Fall.  You still see this today with the Topps Series 2 and Update Series products that will showcase rookies or players that were traded that were not included in the first series.  In 1976, you could find ALL the stars in 1 series from that "Eck" rookie to the final card of "Hammerin' Hank." A fine year - all the Topps cards in one series, gas was 59 cents a gallon, and Apple was created by Steve Jobs. If only we could only travel back to that time...

Apple was far from being created back in 1909 when the T206 set was released for dad. The T206 is a monster that holds some of the finest and most valuable cards ever known!  Dad also had two T206 cards with rare backs in the collection he offered Just Collect that I'm very proud to own now!  How rare?  Look at the different backs of the T206 set, and just how cool it is!


  • 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

In October of 2020 one of the roughly 50 copies known to exist of the Honus Wagner was sold for a record 3.25 MILLION dollars!  The set is truly spectacular. Even the non-stars are very desirable due to the rarity of the backs on each card. The backs of each card contains an ad promoting the tobacco company of the product the card was placed in.  


Checking the current PSA Population report for T206 cards with a brown HINDU cigarettes' back, only 965 cards have been graded by PSAOnly 1,604 cards graded by PSA have an American Beauty cigarettes back.  For comparison of these rare back populations to the more common back of Piedmont cigarettes, there are 78,058 graded cards with a Piedmont back! If you're not familiar with card grading, PSA is an industry leader that you can read more about here.  We also have a great article filled with even more facts about the T206 set you can learn from here.

This father-son duo had two rare backs and two hall of famers in a group of 20 T206 tobacco cards; a small collection that packed a BIG punch!  I've been fortunate to have purchased several rare T206 cards here at Just Collect including a collection with a very scarce Eddie Plank card that you can read about here.


Recently I was able to chase a PACK-FRESH (well, maybe not so fresh...) Tobacco card with our friend, Gary Vanyerchuk. Gary and I opened up sealed tobacco packs from over 100 years ago in search for a card!  Did we find one?  Watch this video to find out:


Earlier I told you how the owner (father) of the collection reached out via our FREE appraisal link on Just Collect and our acquisitions specialist, John, called the collector. From there, John offered a few options on how I am able to evaluate and make an offer to purchase collections.

  • Travel to me

Before the Covid pandemic I would have enjoyed a nice trip out West for sunny weather; the Just Collect office is located in New Jersey, and today's high was under 60 degrees.  Unfortunately I'm not fully vaccinated from my second shot yet and couldn't fly to see the collection. Not only do I take my health and safety into consideration but yours, too!  When the Pandemic is over, I will gladly take a plane, bus, car, or borrow my mom's old two-toned, wood panel min van to see your collection!  Until everyone is safe, if you're willing to wear a mask when you and I meet, and you can make the trip here - we can make a deal at the office.  Last month I 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

  • SHIP your collection 

The father and son duo opted to SHIP their collection to me.  John offered the Just Collect FedEx account number so that I could not only pay the shipping cost of the collection but to make sure that the cards were FULLY INSURED by me. 

Once the cards arrived, both John and I reviewed the collection. My favorite part out the collection is that the T206 Cobb came in PLASTIC SCREWDOWN!  Dad knew he had to protect the card many years ago and placed it in, at the time, the state-of-the-art protection.  While I could tell dad cared for his cards, we now know today that screwdowns, especially plastic, were tough on the condition of the cards. Sometimes a screwdown could flatten the card a bit.  Plastic screws could also strip and make it quite difficult to extract the card from an old, plastic screwdown.  For tips on how to protect your cards today, check out this article.

After reviewing the collection, John called the father back to make our initial purchase offer to which the father said he wanted to chat with his son first. Love that father and son collecting bond!  Dad and son collected the cards together and they wanted to sell together, as one. 

The following day, dad called John back and accepted our purchase offer. We asked both dad and son how they'd like to be paid for the cards and they chose to receive a check, so we shipped a check via FedEx the same day. If you sell a collection to me at Just Collect, you can choose how YOU want to be paid - check, cash, money order, NBA Top Shots, or if you want your form of payment to be me DJ'ing a future party, I'll go turntable shopping right now!  

I'd like to thank John for all of his hard work in researching the rare backs and taking the reigns on working on vintage collections like this so we can make you the best deal in the easiest and safest way possible.



One of the reasons I'm able to pay more for collections than other companies is because of the sister company to Just Collect - Vintage Breaks.

As the owner of Vintage Breaks, I'm able to offer certain collections I purchase through Just Collect on the Vintage Breaks site.  At Vintage Breaks, you're able to buy spots into both vintage and hot modern packs, boxes, or sets.  I offer a wide variety of products so there is something for everyone at "VB." 

Here is a video of John opening up a sealed 1976 Topps pack for one of our customers and they hit that Dennis Dckersley rookie card! 



If you'd like to buy into a break yourself and try to win a prize, head over to vnitagebreaks.com. We currently have spots available in 1976 Topps baseball, too, here.


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 me today to discuss or get our industry-leading purchase offer. If you have a collection that you want appraised, please contact us and I 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 blog here


I'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, I am also extremely interested in buying non-sports cards, too!  

Every collection and every collector is different and I treat EVERY collection with the respect and attention that we show for our own collections. I understand that many have put their heart and souls into building their collections. So when you're ready to sell, I 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, I'm not happy.


Whether you have a T206 with a rare back, a full 1976 Topps baseball set, vintage cards or modern wax you want to sell, you can reach out to either John or myself any time! 


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