January 27, 2020
REA will present nearly 600 lots of T206s with several notable highlights; auction will utilize new closing method, payment methods
Eager collectors will not have to wait until April for the next installment of items to be offered by Robert Edward Auctions. The company today announced plans for a special auction to be held February 20 through March 1. The auction will feature a card-by-card set break of a 522-card T206 set, entirely graded by PSA and SGC, including the famous Eddie Plank card as well as the Sherry Magee (Magie) error and St. Louis variations of Ray Demmitt and Bill O'Hara. Nearly one hundred additional cards featuring back variations and print oddities will also be presented. This special auction will introduce new features from REA, most notably an improvement to the modernized auction ending method unveiled in 2016 as well as the implementation of electronic payment options for select invoices.
Affectionately referred to as "The Monster," the T206 set has for over a century captivated collectors who attempt to complete it. For many collectors, the initial appeal of the T206 set is that it can be collected in a number of different ways that are not as daunting as tackling the entire set. From collecting only Hall of Famers to only portraits to only Southern Leaguers to only certain back advertisements, many collectors enter the T206 world through one of those paths. The collector who assembled the offered set did just that, originally setting out to collect only the 250-card Polar Bear advertising back subset. While pursuing those cards, he couldn't help but pick up non-Polar Bear cards that he felt were attractive or desirable, originally targeting only Hall of Famers and eventually moving on to all cards within the set. With back collecting his original motivation, he decided to also target the complete Southern Leaguer subset with all available Piedmont, Old Mill, and Brown Hindu backs.
With various "projects within a project," the offered set is a fascinating assembly of classic T206 White Borders. Eight different back advertisements are represented within the set, ranging from the traditional Piedmont and Sweet Caporal to the more difficult Brown Hindu and Carolina Brights. The complete Polar Bear subset of 250 cards is offered within the set as is the complete 132-card Southern Leaguer set of 48 Piedmont, 48 Old Mill, and 36 Brown Hindu backs. Pedigreed cards make an appearance, most notably from the collection of legendary collector Lionel Carter, whose Eddie Plank, Ray Demmitt (St. Louis), Bill O'Hara (St. Louis), and Ty Cobb green and red background portraits are offered as part of the break. A card from hobby pioneer Charles Bray is also included. Several of the oddities that make the T206 set so intriguing will also be available, including cards with the name on top and bottom, a card with a split advertising back, print shift variations, and a Polar Bear "missing IE" anomaly. Overall, the set spans several grades, but it is a strong mid-grade set, with a heavy focus on eye appeal, which is evident throughout.
This auction is a first of its kind for REA, but it represented a unique opportunity for both the consignor and the company. The consignor had spent several years assembling the set card by card and felt that within the set are many cards collectors would appreciate the opportunity to bid on individually. For REA, there was no more iconic set than T206, and a set break offered the company an entry point into a smaller, non-catalog auction as well as an audience of collectors who may not have previously found items to bid on in the larger auctions held three times a year.
"The demand for REA's services has been growing year over year, and we've often been asked to consider adding more auctions in between the catalog auctions. This set was a great opportunity for us to do just that, and we will consider similar single-owner auctions in the future if it makes sense for all involved," said REA President Brian Dwyer.
This upcoming auction also offers an opportunity to introduce new changes to improve the client experience. In 2016, REA introduced a new auction-closing method designed to eliminate the late nights that plagued bidders participating in online auctions. No longer would auctions end at 5 AM as they had for decades. Instead, extended bidding would take place during the day, with the auction not continuing beyond midnight on the east coast. Immediately, this was a welcomed change to the hobby norm, and several other companies followed suit. With eight auctions under its belt utilizing this system, REA has observed user patterns and evaluated client feedback that led them to make a small change in the ending process that they believe will be widely applauded.
Beginning with this auction, the extended bidding period will continue for several hours as is standard. At midnight, all lots will switch to a lot-by-lot ending with respect to the five-minute rule to prevent sniping. In other words, if a lot receives a bid after midnight, the time remaining to bid on that lot is extended for five minutes. If a lot doesn't receive a bid in a five-minute span after midnight, it will close.
"There is overwhelming support for all lots remaining open for bidding as the reallocation of funds is a real phenomenon," said Dwyer. "There is also a desire to have that opportunity to consider making just one more bid even if you've already submitted your max bid as the clock winds down. We believe that this hybrid method will combine the best of both worlds and offer significant positives to both our consignors and our bidders."
REA will also permit electronic payment through Paypal for bidders with invoices under $500 and through Zelle for bidders with invoices under $2,500. The company will continue to offer the Zelle option in its larger catalog auctions, with Paypal used only for the smaller invoices in this and similar set-break auctions.
New bidder registration is available at www.RobertEdwardAuctions.com.