1909-1911 T206 White Border "Tolstoi Backs" Collection (43) Including Cobb and Johnson

Sold For: $20,145

Auction Year: 2012 spring

Lot: 176

Item Year: 1909

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Newly discovered original-owner collection of forty-three high-grade tobacco cards from the T206 White Borders series, highlighted by thirteen Hall of Famers, including Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Cy Young, each with the "Tolstoi" tobacco advertisement on the reverse. To find forty-three different cards, all with Tolstoi backs, is very unusual. The forty-three cards in this lot represent the largest group of these scarce-back T206s that we can recall offering at a single time. Tolstoi is a scarce back, certainly not in the same league as Drum or Uzit, but very unusual and seen far less often than most other T206 advertising backs. These cards were saved by our consignor's grandfather, who collected these cards as a youngster in 1910. They have remained in the family ever since. Apparently a friend or someone in the family was exclusively a fan of Tolstoi tobacco. It was a thrill for us to receive the small group, expecting them to have Piedmont and Sweet Caporal backs as is almost always the case, and find they were all Tolstoi. This is a very fresh looking group! We have selected ten cards to be graded and encapsulated by SGC. Three of the cards (Beckley, Cobb, and Young) came back encapsulated as "Authentic" due to their very slight irregular cut but are definitely not trimmed. Not only are these cards from an original untouched collection direct from the family of the original owner, but the three cards encapsulated as Authentic are full size or even slightly large. (In fact, the Cobb is huge!) So while there may be a slight anomaly to the cut of these cards, we are extremely confident that these cards are not trimmed. Perhaps some or all of these cards were distributed or otherwise obtained in 1910 as sheet-cut? We will never know, but believe this is possible, perhaps likely, and the fact that all have the unusual Tolstoi back makes this an all-the-more interesting speculation. It is possible that additional cards from the group that were not sent in for grading would also have been encapsulated Authentic, and it is also possible that another grading service would have encapsulated the "Authentic" cards with numerical grades. (If it was up to us, we'd put a numerical grade on all of these cards.) This is an extremely fascinating and great-looking group. The collection is comprised of the following: Baker (HOF, SGC EX/NM 80), Beckley (HOF, SGC Auth), Berger (Vg), Brown/Chicago (HOF, SGC NM 84), Byrne (10/90 T/B, otherwise Ex-Mt), Carrigan (Ex), Chance/yellow (HOF, SGC EX/NM 80), Chase/blue (SGC EX/NM 80), Cobb/red (HOF, SGC Auth, well centered with a striking red background, perfect registration, and very light corner wear), Crandall/cap (Ex), Demmitt/NY (Ex), Devore (Vg), Doolan/batting (ink mark on back, otherwise Vg-Ex), Doyle/NY - hands above head (Vg-Ex/Ex), Duffy (HOF, Ex-Mt), Ford (Vg), Gandil ("Black Sox," Vg), Gasper (Ex), Geyer (Ex-Mt), Griffith/batting (HOF, Ex), Jennings/both hands (HOF, Ex), Johnson/hands at chest (HOF, SGC EX 60), Jordan/Bklyn - bat (Vg), Lake/St. Louis - no ball (Gd-Vg), LaPorte (Vg), Maddox (Ex-Mt), McCormick (Ex), McGraw/glove (HOF, SGC EX/NM 80), Reulbach/no glove (Nr/Mt), Rucker/throwing (Vg), Schlei/port. (Vg-Ex), Schmidt/port. (Ex), Sheckard/glove (Ex/Ex-Mt), Snodgrass/catching (Nr/Mt), Stahl/glove (Vg), Stovall/batting (Nr/Mt), Street/catching (Gd), Warhop (Ex-Mt), Wheat (HOF, SGC EX/NM 80), Willett (Vg-Ex/Ex), Willis/throwing (HOF, the very tip of the upper left corner missing, otherwise Ex-Mt), Wiltse/port. - cap (Ex/Ex-Mt), and Young/glove (HOF, SGC Auth). The equivalent SMR value for the seven graded cards (not including the three Authentic cards and the thirty-three ungraded cards) is $5,185. Total: 43 cards. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $4,000/$6,000+. SOLD FOR $20,145

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