Between the two auctions we’ve prepared thus far, we’ve offered some tremendous T206 rarities and shared them with you here on this blog. However, a type of rarity we haven’t spent a lot of time covering is the condition rarity: those cards that remain in impossibly high grade after more than 100 years.
High-grade T206 cards continue to command high premiums in the hobby, as more and more collectors flock to the set due to its popularity and the many different ways of collecting it. Condition is a rarity unto itself with T206 – as of this writing, nearly a quarter million T206s have been graded between PSA and SGC, and just 3.8% of those have attained a grade of NMT or better. In our February auction, we’re proud to offer a number of cards that fall into this top 96% of all graded T206s.
The highest-grade of the group is this “Pitching” pose of “Doc” White. Doc was somewhat of a renaissance man among deadball era players, as he was also a songwriter, publishing four songs with his co-writer (and author), Ring Lardner. This card, a stunning example with incredible sharpness and boldness has a slightly off-centered image that is the only thing keeping it out of an even higher holder. Of nearly 85,000 T206 cards to have been graded by SGC, just 18 individual cards have been graded higher. In addition, just 27 cards have attained a grade of 92. That means this White card places in the top .05% of all T206 cards to have ever been graded by SGC.
This Jimmy Williams is another knockout, a NM-MT card that is one of just two Williams cards graded at this level by PSA, with only one higher. The card depicts Browns outfielder Williams in the final season of his 11-year major league career. One of the most stunning and likely the nicest Williams in the hobby, centering-wise, features a Piedmont 150 back.
Despite playing just four seasons in the majors, “Jap” Barbeau played 13 seasons in the American Association and Pacific Coast League, belting 1,463 lifetime hits. Pictured here with St. Louis, where Barbeau spent two seasons as a part-time third baseman, this card is stunning in its clarity and crispness. Graded NM/MT by SGC, this card is the only one of just 162 T206 Barbeaus with any of nine back varieties to grade NM/MT with SGC. In fact, no Barbeau has graded higher with PSA, either, as this is one of just two Piedmont Barbeaus to grade this high (PSA has graded a Sweet Caporal an 8 as well).
The high-grade parade continues with Gus Dorner, pictured at the tail end of his career with the Kansas City Blues of the American Association. This stunning example of Dorner boasts four sharp corners and stunning color, the highest-graded Piedmont T206 example on record with PSA and one of just two Dorners they’ve graded this high (SGC has also graded three). PSA has not graded a T206 Dorner at this level with any other back, meaning this is one of just two PSA 8 Dorners currently available in the hobby.
Gorgeous, bold, and well-centered, this example of Harry Steinfeldt’s T206 portrait card boasts particularly large borders (a “jumbo” Steinfeldt?). It is also the only example out of 280 Harry Steinfeldt cards (both the portrait and “with bat” variation) to grade this high. In other words, if you want an example of Steinfeldt’s T206 currently graded NM/MT, between SGC and PSA, this is the only one available to you.
This example of Reds infielder Tom Downey, also graded NM/MT 8 by PSA due to its brilliant borders and vivid color, is one of the most beautiful T206 cards you will ever see. This one is one of very few Downey cards to attain a grade this high, with none besting it. Currently, this is the only T206 Downey (fielding) with a Piedmont back to have been graded this high by PSA, though an additional three have been graded with “unknown back” (prior to the days of PSA recognizing back varieties in their cards.
We also have two examples of T206 cards graded NMT 7, one each by PSA and SGC. This example of Josh Devore is as nice as you’ll find in the hobby, graded Near Mint by PSA, with nearly perfect centering and four razor sharp corners. The card is bright and bold. Between PSA and SGC combined, just eight examples have graded higher than this Devore (six with PSA and two with SGC). The card of “Turkey” Mike Donlin, with sharp corners, vivid color and just a touch of a centering issue that keeps it out of a higher holder, is graded Near Mint by SGC. One of just nine cards to have graded this high between PSA and SGC, just two have graded higher.
We’re thrilled to offer such an excellent collection of T206 high-grade rarities in our upcoming auction.