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A Tale of Two Christy Mathewsons

T206 Collection With Mathewson, McGraw, Bender, Tinkers, Evers, Chance and more!

  • December 16, 2016
  • Leighton Sheldon

Piedmont Tobacco Cigarette PackMany inquiries that we recieve are simple questions with people wanting to know if there's any value to cards that have been found in closets, left behind by relatives, or that have been recently purchased at flea markets. Invariably, we are asked about tobacco cards like T206's and it seems that most people think that because they're old, they must scarce or because they're old, they have to be valuable.

Well, the good news is that they are valuable, but "valuable" is a relative term, and is not always the life changing returns that many people are hoping for. In most cases, however, "valuable" would be more along the lines of what we refer to as lunch changing value that will help pay a few bills or buy gifts for the kids or grand children. In rare cases, they may provide a windfall that will pay for a few semesters of grad school or buy that brand new Tesla, but usually they provide enough of a return that they become worth selling.

The truth is that most tobacco cards are not scarce. They are not rare. When you look at baseball cards all day like we do, you see all sorts of cards and many of them are from the tobacco era (most were issued from the late 1880's through the onset of World War I). The great thing about most of the tobacco cards issued for baseball is that they are still widely collected and there is still a tremendous demand for them, especially in top condition, but there are willing buyers for the cards even in lesser condition.

Recently, we had a private collector contact us with a run of extras and dupes that he had collected while building his T206 Set and was looking at getting a fair and reasonable offer for them. We reviewed the collection of more than 125 T206 cards and provided a preliminary estimation, with the caveat that to provide an accurate evaluation; we would need to examine the cards in person. Our preliminary evaluation was in the "ballpark," so the collector forwarded the collection to our New Jersey office for examination by one of our vintage card specialists. We completed the assessment and evaluation and had a purchase offer for the gentleman within 24 hours of receiving the collection. We reviewed our findings with the gentleman, presented him with our purchase offer and he happily agreed and we concluded the sale by immediately forwarding payment in full.

There were multitudes of Hall of Famers were in the collection, including Christy Mathewson in both the white and dark cap poses, John McGraw with glove on hip, Mordecai Brown Cubs on shirt, the Chicago Cubs double play combination of yore, Tinker, Evers and Chance, Sherry Magee Portrait and so many others. There are a few other notables in the collection aside from the vast assortment of Hall of Famers. John Titus, ever popular because he is the sole mustachioed subject in the entire T206 issue, is represented twice while Chick Gandil and Ed Ciccotte, both of Black Sox infamy from the 1919 World Series, are also featured in this collection.

1909-11 T206 John McGraw Glove on Hip1909-11 T206 Christy Mathewson White Cap1909-11 T206 John Titus1909-11 T206 Mordecai Brown

There was also a nice selection of minor leaguer and tougher Southern Leaguer players, some featuring the Old Mill Southern League advertising back. The overall condition ranged from poor to excellent, with most being in the good to very good range and most of the better condition cards exhibiting evidence of trimming, which is pretty much standard fare when reviewing collections of tobacco era cards.

Just Collect is always looking to purchase vintage cards and most tobacco era cards, especially N300 Mayo Cut Plug, T3 Turkey Red Cabinet Cards, T200, T201, T202, T205, T206, T207 and other issues and premiums issued by Allen & Ginter, Goodwin & Co, Old Judge, Mayo, the American Tobacco Company subsidiaries and so many others from 1884 through 1913. Please contact Just Collect today if you have any of these cards.

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