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Lot # 331 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1911 T205 Gold Border Tris Speaker Blank Back

Starting Bid - $300, Sold For - $2,963

Extremely rare T205 blank back of Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Tris Speaker. While at a glance this looks like a normal T205 Gold Border of Tris Speaker, it takes only a second to realize that it is not. T205 cards, of course, were normally issued with a biography of the player and a tobacco advertisement on the reverse. The back of this card is entirely blank. We have handled T205 "proof" cards, such as that of Ty Cobb which appeared as Lot #316 in REA's 2009 auction, which are noticeably hand-cut and have blank backs. The offered example of Speaker is also hand-cut from a sheet and has been encapsulated by SGC as "Authentic." The cut of this card, however, is much neater, and the card itself is in remarkably better condition, than we are accustomed to seeing from proofing "scraps." It is bright and crisp with perfect colors, four sharp corners, flawless gold borders, and a clean reverse with only a faint wrinkle visible. This card has been in the possession of our consignor for more than twenty years as part of his extensive prewar-card collection. While T206 proof cards are very distinctive (hand-cut, with blank backs, and printer's marks on borders), and are very well known, with almost all surfacing from a single find from the family of the printer in the early 1970s, T205 Gold Border proof cards are virtually unknown. But they do exist. Over the years we have seen just a handful of examples, all obviously hand-cut, and all with blank backs. T205 Gold Border proof cards have never gotten the attention of their T206 counterparts. The primary reason is that they are rarer, with potentially as few as ten examples currently known, and there is no difference such as proof marks or text missing on the front of the proof cards. They are also simply less well known because there has never been a legendary find of T205 proofs (as with T206 proofs), and there is no famous unissued T205 proof card (like the legendary T206 proof of Eddie Collins in a batting pose) to put them on the radar of collectors. T206 proof cards are also distinctive at a glance because they have printer's marks on the white borders. Over the years, we have seen just a few T205 proof cards, but the story of exactly where they came from and how they came to be has been lost to time. All are obviously hand-cut, and all have blank backs. Maybe the printer brought a sheet home and gave it to his son to cut up, or these cards were printed just to test the presses, and somehow a few cards wound up with collectors. We will probably never know. All T205 proof cards are extremely scarce and a sample of any player is extremely rare. This example of key T205 Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is a particularly exceptional example. Reserve $300. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,963

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