1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank PSA VG-EX 4

Sold For: $88,875

Auction Year: 2013 spring

Lot: 192

Item Year: 1909

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Graded VG-EX 4 by PSA. Superb high-grade example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most legendary rarities. "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 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. Condition: This is a magnificent VG-EX example of the T206 Plank, crisp and clean, with near-perfect printing registration and a flawless, even, deep blue background. The card is perfectly centered, with light, even rounding to the corners and only a faint wrinkle barely visible in the upper left reverse corner. 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. Only thirteen examples (out of sixty-three evaluated to date by PSA) are graded higher than this particular Plank. The reverse features an advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). Interesting provenance note: This card was purchased by our consignor at auction in 1999 for $24,611. It has remained in his collection and has not seen the light of day since. 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 $88,875.00

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