Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXVIII
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/30/2010
No pre-WWI issue is “hotter” than the prestigious T206 tobacco cards issued during the years 1909 thru 1911. Of course, the most valuable and desirable cards continue to be want are called the “big four”, including the “Holy Grail” Honus Wagner, Eddie Plank, the Magie error, and the rarest T206 card, the Joe Doyle variation. Aside from assembling 520 of the total 524 subjects (foregoing the “big four”), advanced collectors are seriously focusing on compiling many of the approximately 38 – 40 tobacco brand back combinations. Interestingly enough, one of the toughest T206 backs to obtain is a “blank back” version with this odd variation included on many elite enthusiasts’ “T206 Top Ten Rarity” lists and ranked as the 9th scarcest T206 on the renowned T206 Museum listing (including the T206 Ty Cobb Tobacco back).
Regarding the Joe Doyle variation, with less than 10 examples known to exist, collectors are content with simply purchasing the corrected version. While the Joe Doyle corrected T206 card (without the “Nat’l” text following N.Y. on the lower border) doesn’t achieve a significant premium, it is still a highly popular card with T206 purists. Regarding the Joe Doyle variation, like the “Magie” error, an early correction to an erroneous printing plate typography issue accounts for the Joe Doyle rarity. The Piedmont Tobacco Co. confused N.Y. Americans pitcher Joe Doyle with the star New York Giants/Nationals 2nd baseman Larry Doyle. In 1910, the original template included “N.Y. Nat’l” below Joe Doyle’s name, rather than what should have been a “N.Y. Amer.” designation. The company quickly realized the inadvertent text error, and simply removed the “Nat’l” typography next to “N.Y.”, rather than adding the “Amer.” verbiage. Therefore, one of the scarcest cards on the planet was born with only a handful of cards including “N.Y. Nat’l” below Joe Doyle’s image.
Unfortunately, the Joe Doyle card presented here EXCLUDES the ultra rare “Nat’l” designation, but its reverse side is completely blank, EXCLUDING any cigarette advertisement, resulting in a scarce “blank back” version! While we can’t provide 100% certainty, this blank back Joe Doyle offering appears to have been hand cut due to the slight wavy perimeter along the lower right edge. With many “blank back” T206’s it remains a difficult task to determine “factory” vs. “hand” cut, but this particular specimen does appear to have been manually cut due to the lower right edge aesthetics. The card itself exhibits all of the sought after qualities associated with a solid mid-grade example. To reiterate, the “Authentic” technical assessment is most likely attributed to what SGC categorizes as an “uneven lower edge cut”. The remainder of the card does exhibit solid mid-grade eye appeal. Doyle’s magnificent “hands over head” image portrays brilliant color, contrast and clarity, with a spectacular factory fresh bold blue background. The entire image is relatively well centered (it does slightly favor the right edge) between four bright white borders, and no major creasing or surface blemishes are evident. The reverse side “blank back” is super clean and the four corners reflect only modest even wear. Save the “hand cut” issue, it appears obvious that this Joe Doyle “blank back” T206 depicts strong mid-grade appeal. Yet, let’s put the assigned grade aside because the opportunity to own an obscure “blank back” T206 card representing an ultra desirable subject far surpasses any technical assessment!
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