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1909-1911 T206 White Border Eddie Plank PSA VG-EX+ 4.5
Starting Bid - $20,000, Sold For - $66,000
Graded VG-EX+ 4.5 by PSA. Exceptionally strong example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most legendary rarities. "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" are the baseball-card rarities that have long been referred to as "The Big Three." These three cards, Wagner and Plank from the T206 Series, and Nap Lajoie from 1933 Goudey, have traditionally represented the height of rarity, desirability, and value in the baseball-card world. When Jefferson Burdick first published the American Card Catalog in the 1930s, the T206 Wagner was listed as the most valuable baseball card in the world at a then-incredible $50. Plank was the second most valuable card, listed at $10. Over the years, since the days of Jefferson Burdick, other cards have come to be universally recognized as among collecting's most desirable cards, but "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" will always be the inaugural members of this elite club, and the three cards that purists among baseball-card collectors will always recognize as the ultimate symbols of baseball-card rarity. The reasons for the great rarity of Plank are shrouded in mystery. One popular explanation, which appears to have no basis in fact, is that the printing plate broke. It is far more likely that Plank objected to having his picture packaged with cigarettes. Like Wagner, Plank is in all the candy-card sets of the era but does not appear in any of the primary tobacco-card sets issued during this same time period, such as T3, T201, T202, T205, or T207. Since Plank was one of the greatest stars of the day, it is unlikely that the tobacco companies simply forgot to put him in all these sets. It is far more likely that there is a more reasonable explanation.
This is a magnificent example of T206 Plank, crisp and clean, with perfect printing registration, a flawless, even, deep blue background, no creases, and with just a hint of wear to the corners. Centered just a hint to the top left with a very subtle diamond cut. It is particularly rare to find such a problem-free example of this card. The reverse, which is centered to the far right, features an advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). It should be noted that this exact card appeared as lot #272 in REA's 2010 auction as part of the Charlie Conlon collection, where it realized $49,938. At that time, it was graded GOOD 30 by SGC, due to evidence of an insignificant pencil erasure mark above the word "Sweet," and the card was specifically noted by REA as appearing much better than the assigned grade. In fact, our exact wording was "At a glance, this card could be mistaken for Excellent condition (at the very least Vg-Ex)." The buyer opted to have PSA evaluate the card, and PSA assigned the VG-EX+ grade, which we feel is accurate based on its grading scale (and ours) and the way in which the card presents. To date, PSA has graded sixty-eight T206 Planks, only eleven of which grade higher than the offered VG-EX+ example (three EX 5, four EX-MT 6 [one is qualified], three NM 7, and one NM-MT 8). This is the ONLY example graded VG-EX+ 4.5. This is an extremely attractive, high-grade example of one of card collecting's most significant rarities, worthy of the finest collection of T206, rarities, or classic cards. SOLD FOR $66,000
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