T-206 Tobacco Cards - History In Our Hands
Many have posed the question, why do we collect T-206's, why is this set so popular, why do so many have such an intense focus for this brand?
The answers are limitless, with no incorrect explanation among the litany of observations.
I will offer my personal reasons, which I would speculate mirror most of those who are T-206 enthusiasts.
The first element that drew me to a T-206 card was the excitement and awe of holding a near 110 year old baseball card in my hands. I grew up collecting cards. I heard fabled stories of Babe Ruth baseball cards, Mickey Mantle Rookie cards. Collectors spoke of Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Ernie Banks cards they collected as a kid. Most stories had these cards being lost, for one reason or another. The warning and lone piece of advice kids were given: keep your cards, keep them protected, and buy as many rookies as you can.
As I began collecting as a child, I heeded that advice. I squirreled away and protected every card I collected in the early 1990's, as did everyone else. Supply and demand graphs were not explained in school to 8 year olds, but soon I learned what everyone would come to realize, with millions upon millions of cards produced, and retention rates at all time highs, values plummeted.
I didn't care however, and still don't. Opening a pack of cards and finding a 1990-91 Skybox Michael Jordan created immense excitement, and that was all that mattered. I gravitated toward basketball cards as a youth, with baseball being a close second. I still have all the cards I collected as a kid stored away in a cabinet. Net Worth is estimated at $100...(It's a nice cabinet!)
As with most, card collecting ground to a virtual halt for me once I neared High School and beyond. Other priorities in life took over...next came College, Family, Career. As time went by, I came back to collecting...this time armed with more knowledge, and the internet that made any card immediately available. I began a significant Michael Jordan card collection, and that was my main focus. Collecting MJ cards that spanned his entire career became a singular goal, and for a time, a most enjoyable pursuit.
I still have and treasure those cards, but as time passed I found myself gravitating towards more historic pursuits. The question became, how exactly would that manifest, and what should I collect?
That brings us back to T-206 Tobacco cards. And the question remains, why? There are certainly other cards with more notoriety...the Ruth and Mantle's spoken of earlier come to mind. There are certainly cards that are older, Old Judge's for instance. Worthwhile pursuits, and I have not resisted picking up some of those cards, here and there.
T-206's however, to me, define baseball cards, and card collecting in general. Once I purchased my first T-206 card, I was hooked. Learning about different players, essentially the first true generation of the game, became fascinating. The variety and seemingly infinite pose and back combinations is unparalleled for any set. Collecting T-206 cards is truly more than completing a set, it is tracing the history of the hobby, the sport, and indeed the Country.
I've created this website to share some of the more interesting aspects of T-206 collecting that have intrigued me over the years. I have been enamored by the "T-206 Freaks" which I have come across, and have built a collection consisting of several cards within this category. My clear favorite are drastic miscuts, where the card was cut in error, with the misalignment being applied to both the front and back equally. These type of cards are exceedingly rare within the T-206 set, and it is momentous occasion when unknown drastic miscut comes to light.
I have also highlighted on this site other cards I have collected in the T-206 oddity category, including slight miscuts, misprints (where only one side of the card is misaligned), color or ink variations, T-206's printed without a name, blank backs, etc... Each of these cards is a true 1 of 1, and I believe the rarity of these types of cards is woefully underappreciated.
In addition to miscuts and other T-206 freaks, I have also amassed a collection of historic time-period stamped backs. These cards were stamped by their original owners, which was customary in the early 1900's. It is a fascinating glimpse into the history and provenance of these cards. I have dedicated a section of this site to back stamps, and hope to continue to expand on the breadth and knowledge of this area.
T-206 is truly when card collecting came into existence in any mass form, and creates a bridge to collectors of today, with generations in between. As others have said more eloquently: T-206's exist in a sweet spot, enough cards have been lost to history to provide adequate scarcity to collectors, but enough exist to allow a collection to be built without requiring a life's fortune to be spent. The ability to collect this set within infinite categories allows the most well financed collector, those on a shoe-string budget, and everyone in between to all have pride in their unique collection.
The goal of this site is to share my collection, provide one more resource to others collecting T-206's, and along the way hopefully help increase the collective knowledge and preservation of the T-206 set.
Thank you for visiting, and happy collecting.