Masterpieces & Uncommon Commons XIX
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 11/14/2008
The T206 Walter Johnson ‘Hands at Chest’ tobacco card is one of the most popular HOF T206s. Especially considering that no major “E” (except the unpopular E91) or Bread cards, inexplicably, were issued for Walter Johnson, his “T” cards are highly sought by avid vintage collectors. The example presented here is one of the most spectacular high grade cards in the industry. Graded a PSA Mint 9, only 2 others have achieved this mark with NONE graded higher. Just as impressive is that PSA has encapsulated approx. 450 of these T206s, with the three PSA 9’s accounting for only 0.7% of the total population! To own a Mint ‘9’ pre-WWI cardboard artifact of the “Big Train” (as he was most commonly referred to) is every high end collector’s dream. Johnson’s accomplishments are virtually insurmountable, explaining why most baseball experts nominate him as the greatest pitcher who ever lived. 417 lifetime wins, over 3,500 strikeouts, a lifetime 2.17 ERA, and an incredible 110 shutouts (including 38 1-0 wins!) certainly substantiate this notion. More importantly, Johnson personified the pure innocence correlated with ‘turn of the century’ baseball as evidenced by his kindness and sense of fair play. He succeeded the great Christy Mathewson as the game’s consummate professional and was idolized by thousands of aspiring young ballplayers. The offered card is an absolute blazer! His portrait, hands in glove image, is a perfect masterpiece, easily comparable to anything Rembrandt had to offer. All the borders are clean and centered relatively well (50/50 ‘side to side’ and 45/55 ‘top to bottom’. The corners are pinpoint and the outer edging is razor sharp. No setbacks are evident on the reverse of the card, with the Sweet Caporal advertisement perfectly centered and depicting the utmost vivid registration. In summary, all attributes of this card lead to the term “pack fresh”. We highly doubt that it was pulled from a cigarette pack this year, but it sure seems that way! Every so often the industry come across a card that defies logic, a card so aesthetically breathtaking that even the elitist collector gets excited about the notion of claiming its ownership. Now, place the picture of, arguably, baseball’s greatest all-time pitcher on the card and, you have truly come across the second coming of the ‘Mona Lisa’!
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