1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank - PSA VG-EX 4
Starting Bid - $10,000, Sold For - $94,000
Graded VG-EX 4 by PSA. Superb high-grade example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most legendary rarities. This card has a particularly interesting and noteworthy provenance: It is the T206 Plank card that accompanied "The Connecticut Wagner" (and the rest of the T206 set) that was sold by an old-time collector for his asking price of $10,000 (a fair but still imposing sum at the time) at a small local show in Connecticut in 1985, only to "disappear" from the collecting world, whereabouts unknown, for the next twenty-five years. "The Connecticut Wagner" and the rest of the set finally resurfaced last year, in the hands of the original buyer from 1985 (a father and son team), who had kept a low profile but quietly continued to collect. As the the value of his cards, especially the Wagner, continued to grow over the years, it finally no longer made sense for them to keep the Wagner. The Wagner, which was graded PR-FR 1 by PSA, appeared as Lot 3 in REA's May 2010 auction, selling for $282,000. They are keeping the balance of the T206 set, but with the Wagner gone, they have decided that because of its great value it makes sense for them to sell the Plank as well. This is a beautiful T206 Plank that has never before been publicly offered and has literally not seen the light of day (except to be graded by PSA) since 1985.
Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" are the baseball card rarities that have long been referred to as "The Big Three." These three baseball cards (Wagner and Plank from the T206 series, and Nap Lajoie from 1933 Goudey) have traditionally represented the height of rarity, desirability, and value in the baseball-card world. When Jefferson Burdick first published the American Card Catalog in the 1930s, the T206 Wagner was listed as the most valuable baseball card in the world at a then-incredible $50. Plank was the second most valuable card, listed at $10. Over the years, since the days of Jefferson Burdick, other cards have come to be universally recognized as among collecting's most desirable cards, but "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" will always be the inaugural members of this elite club, and the three cards that purists among baseball card collectors will always recognize as the ultimate symbols of rarity and desirability. The reasons for the great rarity of Plank are shrouded in mystery. One popular explanation, which appears to have no basis in fact, is that the printing plate broke. It is far more likely that Plank aobjected to having his picture packaged with cigarettes. Like Wagner, Plank is in all the candy-card sets of the era but does not appear in any of the primary tobacco-card sets issued during this same time period, such as T3, T201, T202, T205, or T207. Since Plank was one of the greatest stars of the day, it is unlikely that the tobacco companies simply forgot to put him in all these sets. It is far more likely that there is a common explanation. This is a magnificent example of T206 Plank, crisp and clean, with perfect printing registration, a flawless, even, deep blue background, just the lightest hint of a surface crease (barely detectable only under bright light), and with a hint of wear to the corners. This is a magnificent Vg-Ex card which in the "old days" would have been called Ex. It is particularly rare to find such a problem-free example of this card. Like all T206s, including Wagner, a very large percentage survive in lower grades, and very few in higher grades. Among the more common cards in the set, which include virtually all, the law of averages allows for a much greater possibility of a given card being found in high grade, but the pool of survivors of the extreme rarities such as Wagner and Plank make high-grade examples far rarer and more desirable than a simple numerical grade might suggest. The reverse features an advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). This is an outstanding example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most significant rarities. Reserve $10,000. Estimate $25,000+. SOLD FOR $94,000