Prewar collectors spend their entire hobby lives figuring out the collecting niche that's just right for them - the card issue, player or period that gets them most excited. The prewar segment of the hobby is enormous, with as many collecting strategies and methods as there are collectors. One thing that virtually all have in common, however: at some point, everyone owns a T206. Few sets in the hobby carry the mystique of The Monster. Books have been written about it. Websites are devoted to it. It is so popular that PSA has nearly 80 different types of registry sets devoted to various subsets of T206.
Collecting individual T206 cards is easy. Completing a set, however, is a different story - 70 Hall of Famers add considerable expense, while multiple player poses and variations, tough Southern Leaguers, and difficult-to-locate scarcities within the set create collecting challenges that eventually frustrate all but the most patient and passionate collectors to the point of abandonment. Certainly the number of collectors who have completed a T206 set is just a fraction of the number who have started - there are currently 139 sets registered on the PSA registry - but only 12 are complete.
Presented here is the end result of such an exercise in patience and diligence - a near-complete set (save for the "big four" of Wagner, Plank, Magie and Doyle). Featuring 520 cards, this is an outstanding collecting achievement that includes the remaining difficult variations, all the Hall of Famers and the tough Southern Leaguers. In addition, there are 74 cards featuring an assortment of tougher backs, including American Beauty 350 (1 card), El Principe de Gales (1 card), Hindu (1 card), Old Mill (6 cards), Old Mill SL (22 cards), Polar Bear (18 cards), Sovereign 150 (4 cards), Sovereign 350 (12 cards), Sovereign 460 (4 cards), and Tolstoi (5 cards).
A breakdown of condition is as follows: EX and better: 1%; VG/EX 6%; VG 26%; GOOD 37%, FAIR 21%, and POOR 9% with some trimmed, including the Mathewson Portrait. Hall of Famers, including the graded examples, grade VG/EX 5%; VG 11%, GOOD 38%, FAIR 28%, and POOR 18% with the trimmed Mathewson. We took the liberty of having 24 cards graded by PSA, with a breakdown as follows: PSA EX-MT 6 (1 card): Shaughnessy (SL); PSA EX 5 (1 card): Gandil; PSA VG-EX 4 (4 cards): Jennings (HOF - Both Hands), Johnson (HOF - Hands at Chest), Lundgren (Chicago), Tinker (HOF - Bat Off Shoulder - Tolstoi Back); PSA VG 3 (1 card): Chance (HOF - Yellow Portrait); PSA GOOD 2 (11 cards): Baker (HOF - Tolstoi Back), Cobb (HOF - Green Background), Demmitt (Polar Bear - St. Louis variation), Johnson (HOF - Portrait), Lajoie (HOF - Portrait), Lajoie (HOF - Throwing), Lajoie (HOF - With Bat), Mathewson (HOF - White Cap), Mathewson (HOF - Dark Cap), Speaker (HOF), Young (HOF - Glove Shows - Polar Bear); PSA GOOD Q (2 cards): Cobb (HOF - Bat On Shoulder), Young (HOF - Bare Hand), PSA FAIR 1.5 (2 cards): O'Hara (Polar Bear - St. Louis), Young (HOF - Portrait); PSA PR 1 (1 card): Cobb (HOF - Red Background), PSA PR 1 Q (1 card): Cobb (HOF - Bat Off Shoulder).
Assuming that one can consider a T206 set complete at 520 cards, this is the third complete set we have offered in the last year - most of any auction house. Of the three, this is the cleanest with the largest number of tougher backs. A collector-grade set with a few condition surprises, this is an attractive example of the most important and popular prewar baseball card set. The most widely collected prewar baseball card set but still among the most challenging, we have tamed The Monster for you. 520 cards total.