Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Ain't Afriad of No Ghosts (Part 2)

As if adding a double Orval Overall was not enough to slake my need for wet sheet transfers, I also picked up the below card:


Note that in the above card there are a tremendous range of colors in the card, including a sunset, a grandstand, grass and they even left some space for a player.  And if you look real close in the upper left hand corner of the card, you can see a transfer of a T206 back on the card, with the Piedmont reverse in the yellow section to the left of old Rube's head.  As to Rube himself, he was a pitcher for the Cubs, like Orval, though far less successful throughout his career.  In fact, aside from 1909 where Rube went 9-4 with a 1.65 ERA, he almost never pitched in the major leagues, though his one, hot season did lead to his inclusion in the T206 and T205 set, which is far smaller and contains only a small subset of Mid-Atlantic minor leaguers.


Here is the real reason I purchased the card.  Look at the variety of strong colors clinging to the reverse of the card.  After speaking to some people far more knowledgeable than I am, we all concurred that Rube inhabits both the front and back of this card.  It is unlikely there is another Rube Kroh so brightly emblazoned on both sides with color. 

This concludes our adventure into T206 ghosts, since they are rarely seen nowadays as a number of collectors have pillaged and reviewed stack after stack of T206s trying to find something different about the reverse of the card for their collections.  Fortunately for me, they missed 25 cards in an antique store in Cape May, allowing me to enjoy a small corner of that universe. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts (Part 1)

For Thanksgiving, I went down to Cape May with my wife.  One of the great joys of Cape May is the many antique stores in the area.  Having went only the month before, I was fairly certain there were some cards in the area that I was interested in adding to my collection.  More specifically, there were a couple of T206s which I already owned an example or three of and wanted to add another to my set.


From the front, the Overall above is not very different.  The orange is strong on the card, which is always good, but the front of the card is not as nice as the Overall Portrait which I purchased at the East Coast National in August.  Given that, there is no real reason for me to buy this card, since "own a better version."


As you can see, it is the reverse which led me to purchase this card.  Coloring the upper parts of the Piedmont back is orange ink.  Orange ink which is similar in shape to the front of the card.  This is what is known as a "Wet Sheet Transfer" or ghost image  T206 cards are lithographs, which were inked onto the card.  Should you overink the card, when the next sheet of cards was laid upon the cards, some of the ink would transfer from the wet sheet to the other side of the card.  In some instances, you will see an overinked reverse stained onto the front of the card. 

So, with this I added my first ghost image to my collection, though given the title and my first hand knowledge of what I purchased, the story does not end here, but that is more of a tomorrow post. 

Freakshows From the Local Card Show

So, I went to a card show they run twice a year at a local Catholic school.  Both times I've attended the show, I ended up with some great cards.  Last time, I ended up with three VG T206 cards at a very good price.  This time, I didn't find anything quite that impressive, as there was a grand total of one T206 at the show (an overpriced white cap Christy Mathewson, not nearly as nice as the one I own.), but I make some other interesting additions to my collection. 

Let's start with a few of the freakshow cards I purchased.


Walter Mails is not a player I was familiar with when I purchased the above card, but I was familiar with Emil Yde and some of the other names some intrepid youngster wrote on the card about 90 years ago.  Duster, as Mails was better known as, was part of two World Series winning teams, the 1920 Cleveland Indians and the 1926 St. Louis Cardinals.  He likely appeared on a E120 American Caramel card for going 7-0 in 1920 and 14-8 in 1921, which comprised the only two good years of his career.  The one inning he threw for the 1926 Cardinals did not push them towards the pennant, but still makes him a footnote for a famous team. 


I also picked up this card.  The dealer and I could agree om three facts:

1. The card was headless.
2. A fair price.
3. The card was from the 1880s.

Looking at the card, I thought it was a Scrapps tobacco card.  However, further investigation yielded some information that the card belong to an 1880s tobacco die-cut set which is different from the Scrapps tobacco issue, which are all giant cut-out heads of famous players.  These cards lacked famous faces, but just represented specific locales, like New York.  Other than the age and lack of head, the card is otherwise unremarkable, but will serve as the oldest baseball card I own for quite some time.

Don't worry fair readers, I scanned a bunch of other cards from my trip to Cape May and my adventures at the card show, which should fill quite a few inches of white space in the upcoming days. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Most Expensive Card I Own

For the first time in about 9 months, I went an entire week without purchasing any sports cards or even something sportscard related.  I broke the streak today with a 1986 Topps Mike Scott tattoo for $1.27 shipped, which I thought was a fantastic deal. 

That being said, I generally go through phases.  Phases where I expand my collecting horizons and buy different cards, usually at card shows to improve the old collection.  Then I go through a slow down period where I only buy very few cards, usually just T206s, but the occasional Orval Overall that I expect to never see again.  Actually, I set up an eBay alert so I can see what new Overalls hit the site every morning.  More than a few purchases were due to persistent searching of this type. 

So, few cards have come in and aside from the card above and a missing lineup card, I don't have anything en route to my home.  I do need to scan and upload some new cards onto Photobucket, since there are a few piles uncatalogued, not including cards bought before August of this year.  So, going through the archives, I saw that I have scanned the most expensive card that I own.


There are four Ty Cobbs in the T206 set, making him the second most prevalent player in the set after Hal Chase, who has five different cards.  Cobb, being a star of the day and still a popular player, commands a premium compared to most of the cards in the set.  Going into it, I knew that these cards would likely be the most expensive to acquire and to date, the three most expensive T206s were Ty Cobb (Green Portrait), Ty Cobb (Bat On) and Ty Cobb (Red Portrait), though Walter Johnson's portrait is threatening to move into second place if I show no willingness to wait. 

The green portrait, as seen above is the rarest of the cards.  In fact, aside from the very rare Honus Wagner and Eddie Plank cards, the Ty Cobb Green Portrait is the second hardest hall of famer to acquire after Johnny Evans (Cubs on shirt), which has not nearly as great of a story attached to it. 

So, last August, I was making my regular search of T206s in the morning, seeing what new cards were posted the night before.  While doing so, I see a few groups of very low priced T206s, some in rough condition, some in very rough condition and some looking like poor Fred Tenney below. 


Given the prices, I was a little concerned about whether they were legitimate, but that didn't stop me from ordering a group of seven cards with Joe Tinker, a group of six cards and a Willie Keeler batting, all at outstanding prices.  Looking at what sold the previous night while I foolishly slept, there was a Ty Cobb (Green Portrait) included as well, at an exceptional price.

So, I waited for the cards to arrive and did within three days, as the cards never left the state in transit.  Upon arrival, I carefully removed them from their packaging and was met by some flaking on some of the worst cards like the Tenney above, but they were otherwise legitimate and sound cards. 

Fate smiled a week later when I saw the Ty Cobb for sale on Net54.  The card itself measures short, not through some nefarious trimming to improve condition, but quality control on tobacco premiums was not a job held by the most skilled member of the American workforce.  As such, you find some cards measure short and some are trimmed and some are errors.  The seller disclosed this and I waited, as the price was well more than I wanted to pay for the card.

However, having seen the others, I was interested.  Very interested, even though I was not interested in purchasing a raw Ty Cobb, since the odds of counterfeit were higher.  But the reputation of the previous owner was impeccable and I had other cards from the initial purchase in hand.  After a few hours, the price came down, as the seller intended solely to flip the card for a substantial profit.

Knowing this, I bided my time and set a target.  A few days passed and finally the card came within range for me to make an offer.  A small amount of haggling and I convinced myself, what a fine deal for the card, even if it only grades Authentic.  More importantly, almost all of the damage on the card is on the back.  It has tremendous eye appeal and since Cobb is one of my favorite players in the set, it was an important factor in making my move.  It also helped that yearly bonuses are given in September, never forget that additional money often funds card purchases. 

And my experience with the card since then was nothing but fantastic.  Trae over at T206.org included a set of his T206 back reprints with the Cobb, which was an awfully nice gesture and when I took the card for grading, expecting only an Authentic, I was surprised to see the card was graded SGC20 or Fair, which if you saw the back is a more than fair grade. In fact, here is old Ty locked away from prying hands covered in dangerous oils.


I think it is cards and experiences like this which lead me to keep collecting and have me focused on the finish line, only 34 cards from completion. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Not Really Truman Capote's Father

I have been quite deficient in keeping this blog updated.  I look over at the stack of cards requiring scanning, some storm-related, some pre-storm, and think, "Maybe I should scan some cards in.  I've bought some interesting items recently and they released Leaf Wrestling Originals.  Who doesn't like Goudey-sized cards containing mediocre artwork of wrestlers you aren't familiar with."  I then realize that is most people and more importantly, I realize I have to hook the scanner back up and quit while behind.  Of course, when I do scan cards, I tend to scan in many at a time, since the backlog tends to be quite large when I get there.  So, today I went through the photo archives and found this beauty.  


To put your minds to rest, Truman Capote's father was also named Arch Persons.  I say also, because while not much is known about Arch Persons outfielder, we are all pretty comfortable in the knowledge he wasn't 11 when playing for Montgomery in 1908.  And if he was, his career would be both more remarkable due to his precocious age and less remarkable for squandering his talent and not making the big leagues if he could play minor league ball when 11.  Also, look at that image, that is not the face of an 11 year old. 

In terms of what we do know about Arch, he played four seasons in the minors where records can be obtained, likely playing both before 1908, during 1910 and possibly after 1912, since I'm not sure where you go after washing out of the Western Canada League.  He did spend some time in Montgomery, which gave him greater fame as part of an iconic baseball card set, time in Little Rock, moving down to San Antonio and Oklahoma City in 1911 and finally, 100 years ago, he spent the year in Bassano, Alberta, Canada, just over the border.

As to his card, the Persons card is considered by some to be the most difficult of the 48 Southern Leaguers to acquire.  As such, I paid more for the above card than I did for any of the other 43 Southern Leaguers in my collection, as I only have a meager four more to obtain.  Considering I needed nearly 20 of these elusive cards as recently as July, I would mark that as progress. 

Realistically, I was left with two main paths towards completion, pushing through the few remaining Hall of Famers or the large lot of Southern Leaguers.  Surprisingly, I've been unable to pull the trigger on a Cy Young (Glove Showing) or a Johnson (Portrait), but continually have found acceptably priced Southern Leaguers to fill in the gaps.  Well, with 39 to go, it is getting slower going in just finding cards I don't own, but I do have my eye on Southern Leaguer 45 tonight. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Taft

There is no such thing as a bad time to show a Taft card, but Election Day, especially Presidential Election Day is the best time of all.  I would post more about this, but today is a magical day as the map turns blue and red, one state at a time and my attention is needed watching 5 to 7 channels at the same time. 

Taft Topps

For the record, the Taft is a Topps card from the 1970s which I purchased at the East Coast National in August.  It is not quite a Cracker Jack Taft or even the oldest Taft I own, but we will get to that another day, now that I have access to electricity, scanners and internet in my own apartment. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Tinker's Chance

The silence around these parts was certainly not golden.  Today is the first time since Monday I've had both power and internet on something more substantial than a mobile phone charged from my car.  So, being directly in the path of Superstorm Sandy's path, I've sadly spent more time looking for gas, electricity and heat than sportscards.  Of course, while awaiting the direct hit which stole away my basic essentials and left me dark, I did the only thing a rational person would do.  Purchase sportscards.

I would show you pictures, but as the storm was racing up the coast, I found a great deal on Tinker (Bat on Shoulder) about four hours before I lost power.  Of course, as the card was in another part of the state, Tinker is still sitting, waiting to be mailed to my address.  But given my lack of power, I can wait a few days to put old Joe Tinker in the box.  I bought some other cards as well, but will wait to have power, internet, the cards in hand and access to a scanner to post those cards for all to see.