1909 T212 Obak Cigarettes Complete Set (76): #2 SGC Set Registry!

Sold For: $18,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 595

Item Year: 1909

Category: Prewar Baseball Cards (1900-1941)

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Extraordinary high-grade complete set of seventy-six 1909 T212 Obak cards, including "Black Sox" member Chick Gandil, which is offered as part of this set in EX/MT+ 82 condition--the only example graded at this lofty level with none higher. Each card is graded and encapsulated by SGC. The complete set currently ranks second overall on the SGC Set Registry. Obaks are among the most popular of all early card issues featuring players from the Pacific Coast League. While catalogued simply as T212, Obaks were actually issued over a period of three years, from 1909 to 1911, and are really three sets. The 76-card 1909 set is the first of the three annual T212 issues from Obak Cigarettes. The 1909 set cards are by far the rarest of the three and are easily distinguished by the blue printing in an “Old English” font on their backs. This remarkable complete set originally appeared as Lot #388 in REA's 2011 auction (realizing $26,348). At that time, it was consigned by the family of legendary collector Paul Pollard, one of the hobby's great pioneer collectors, who passed away in 2009 and had kept this set as one of the highlights of his personal collection for decades. The buyer at that sale (our current consignor) felt that Paul's accomplishment should be recognized, so he purchased the complete set (along with the 1910 and 1911 complete sets offered in the same auction from Paul's collection) and had SGC pedigree each card on the label as originating from the Pollard Collection. Over the last several years, our consignor traded away a few cards from the set to collectors interested in owning a piece of Paul's legacy, always replacing the card with one of equal or better condition. The overwhelming majority of the set, however, has remained intact as Paul collected it and is presented here again for the enjoyment of the next collector interested in obtaining an incredible complete 1909 Obak set with a rich hobby history.

SGC Grading Composite: NM 84 (8 cards): Brashear, Breen, D. Brown, Coy, J. Lewis, Ragan, Speas, and Wheeler. EX/NM+ 82 (1 card): Gandil (Black Sox, pop one, highest graded). EX/NM 80 (13 cards): Boyce, Byrnes, Carrol, Graney, Hogan, Howse, Jansing, Mott, Ryan, Smith, Stoval, R. Williams, and Zeider. EX+ 70 (8 cards): Carson, Ehman, Graham, Hitt, Howard, McKune, Tennant, and Wiggs. EX 60 (12 cards): Beall, Brown, Browning, Fisher, Harkins, W. Hogan, C. Lewis, D. Lewis, Martinke, Murphy, Whalen, and Willis. VG/EX 50 (13 cards): Baum, Berry, Bodie, Christian, Eagan, Fitzgerald, Garrett, Henley, La Longe, McCredie, Melchoir, Mundorff, and Nagle. VG 40 (17 cards): Bernard, Brackenridge, Cameron, Flannagan, Delmas, Griffin, Guyn, Haley, McArdle, Mohler, Nelson, Ornsdorff, Ort, Raymer, Shinn, Willett, and J. Williams. GOOD 30 (2 cards): Dillion and Olson. Authentic (2 cards): Easterly and Reidy.

1909 T212 Obak cards are rarely offered as a complete set, and are highly prized by both minor-league collectors and tobacco-card collectors. Many of these cards are by far the highest-grade examples of these rare minor-league tobacco cards we have ever seen. Every card is bright and crisp, with vibrant colors, and flawless registration. Even the very few lesser-graded examples present far better than suggested by their technically accurate assigned grades, with tiny, almost insignificant flaws responsible for the downgrade in almost all cases. Considerable expense has been invested in the professional grading of this complete set, but it did serve to confirm what we knew upon seeing it for the first time years ago: this is an incredibly impressive and overall high-grade complete set that would be, in our opinion, extremely difficult to assemble card by card with the same level of consistency and overall display value! Total: 76 cards. Reserve $10,000. Estimate (open).

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