1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank - PSA EX-MT 6

Sold For: $188,000

Auction Year: 2009 spring

Lot: 9

Item Year: 1909

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Graded EX-MT 6 by PSA. Spectacular high-grade example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's legendary rarities. Just as is the case with the T206 Wagner, very few of these cards exist in high grade. This is the highest-graded T206 Plank we have ever offered. According to the the PSA Population report, only five examples have ever been graded higher. "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" are the three 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 also objected 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 stunning T206 Eddie Plank, crisp and clean, with flawless registration, a striking bold blue background, no creases, and with only the slightest hint of wear to the square corners visible under magnification. Centered to the left approximately 25/75. The reverse (centered approximately 80/20 left to right) is perfectly clean and features a boldly printed advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). 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 T206 set, the laws of statistics allow for a far greater possibility of a given card being found in high grade, but the small 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 PSA grade for a T206 card might suggest. Of the fifty-one T206 Planks graded to date by PSA, twenty-five grade either "1" or "2," fourteen grade "3" or "4," three grade "5," only four (including the offered example) grade "6," four "7," and one "8." This is an outstanding example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of the finest in existence of one of card collecting's most significant rarities. In Ex-Mt condition. Reserve $25,000. Estimate $50,000+. SOLD FOR $188,000

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