1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank

Sold For: $49,938

Auction Year: 2010 spring

Lot: 272

Item Year: 1909

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Graded GOOD 30 by SGC. Extremely pleasing and very conservatively graded example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most legendary rarities. We grade this card Vg or slightly better condition. It has been downgraded by SGC due to evidence of an insignificant pencil erasure mark above the word "Sweet" and a light moisture stain in the lower left of the reverse. At a glance, this card could be mistaken for Excellent condition (at the very least Vg-Ex). "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" are the three baseball-card rarities that have long been referred to as "The Big Three." These three 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 baseball-card rarity. 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 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 magnificent example of T206 Plank, crisp and clean, with perfect printing registration, a flawless, even, deep blue background, no creases, and with just a hint of wear to the corners. Centered just a hint to the top left with a very subtle diamond cut. It is particularly rare to find such a problem-free example of this card. The reverse, which is centered to the far right, features an advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). This is an extremely attractive mid-grade example of one of card collecting's most significant rarities. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$20,000+. SOLD FOR $49,938

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