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Lot # 286 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1909-1911 E254 Colgan's Chips Partial Master Set (232 of 304) Including Uncataloged Example

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $11,850

Among the most unique and distinctive cards ever produced are the 1909-1911 E254 Colgan's Chips series. The cards are actually circular (1-7/16 inches in diameter) and were issued as inserts with Colgan's Chips ("The Gum That's Round") in the round Colgan's Chips gum tins. Offered is a substantial collection of 232 different E254 Colgan's Chips cards featuring 208 different subjects and twenty-four variations, representing one of the largest and most advanced collections of these classic and unusual cards ever assembled. A total of 304 different cards comprise a master set of this issue. This is the second-largest collection of E254s we have ever offered or even seen presented at auction (a near-complete master set of 280 of 304 cards appeared as Lot #164 in REA's 2010 auction, realizing $32,313). Notably, this collection includes an example of Bescher/Cincinnati, which does not appear on the Standard Catalog checklist and is listed as one of twenty-six E254s that Larry Fritsch proposed removing from the checklist in 1996 as they had not been documented at that point in time (or since) according to There are only a hundred or so relatively common cards in the Colgan's Chips set (we really don't know the exact number since no formal study of the varying rarities of cards in the set has ever been done). Fortunately, the more common subjects include some of the biggest stars, such as Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner. One theory we have heard to possibly explain the varying rarities of cards in the set is that, because Colgan's were issued over a three-year period (1909-1911), the more common subjects were issued continuously during this span, while rarer subjects were issued for shorter periods. Some may have been issued regionally. Whatever the explanation, many of the rarer cards (and there are many) approach impossible-to-find status.

Condition varies but is a distant secondary factor for a collection such as this, and while not in high grade by PSA or SGC standards, approximately 65% of this grouping presents as Vg to Ex, 25% Fr to Gd, and 10% lesser. Some of the cards have technical flaws on the reverse which would cause them to grade more modestly despite their superior appearance. The following Hall of Famers (fifteen different out of nineteen in the set, only Bresnahan, Cobb, Flick and Speaker are missing, plus three variations for a total of eighteen) are included: #13 Baker (Vg-Ex), 35 Chance (Fr/Gd), 38a Clarke (Pr/Fr), 38b Clarke (Ex), 42 E. Collins (Ex), 67 Evers (Vg-Ex), 93a Hooper (Vg-Ex), 93b Hooper (Gd), 99 Jennings (Pr), 103 Joss (Vg-Ex), 105 Kelley (Vg-Ex), McCarthy (Vg-Ex), 134 McGinnity (small pen mark on reverse, otherwise Ex), 209 Tinker (Vg), 213a Waddell (adhesive paper on reverse, otherwise Vg-Ex), 213c Waddell (Gd), 214 Wagner (with H; Vg-Ex), and 228 Young (trimmed to square). Because they are so unusual and not traditional rectangular cards, E254s have been overlooked by many collectors. The more common cards in the set (which are not really common compared to most 1910-era cards; they are just common relative to the many rarer cards in the set) represent one of the most outstanding values of all baseball candy issues. There is no consensus and little attention has been given regarding values of rarer cards in the set, and in part simply because they are rare, the relative rarities of cards in the set have not been documented. It is truly a "no man's land" for assessing E254 values, not unlike collecting N172 Old Judges twenty-five years ago before all the nuances of varying rarities had been fully documented. A total of 226 different players are represented within a complete set and many obscure players are included, among them many players that appear in few (in some cases no) other sets, which is part of its great appeal to advanced collectors. In addition to featuring players from the Major Leagues, 45% of the set features players from eight different minor leagues. The set includes nineteen Hall of Famers, a modest number for a card issue of this size. This is an incredible collection of E254s, one of the largest ever assembled of this distinctive and unusual issue, which would be a worthy addition to any prewar-card collection, and which would serve as a tremendous foundation for any collector looking to tackle the monumental task of assembling a complete master set. This E254 collection has been consigned directly from the family of legendary pioneer collector Paul Pollard. Total: 232 cards. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $2,500++. SOLD FOR $11,850

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