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Lot # 599 (599 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

1912 T215 Pirate Cigarettes Gabby Street - Extraordinary Rarity!

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $7,200

Presented is a T215 Pirate Cigarettes card of Washington Senators catcher Gabby Street. T215 Pirate Cigarettes are among the most legendary rarities in all of card collecting. They are so rare that little is known with certainty about their distribution, but they are believed to have been issued exclusively to American servicemen in the South Seas. Pirate Cigarette cards were produced by W. D. & W. H. Wells, a British tobacco company. The fronts are identical to those used in the T206 set and the T215 (Type 1) Red Cross tobacco-card set. The fact that Pirate Cigarette cards and Red Cross have both at times been identified by the same T215 catalog designation is confusing, especially since the designs of the sets are so similar (both to each other and to T206), but they are so rare that this dual listing is not really much of an issue for collectors. There is no confusing the extraordinary rarity of the Pirate-back cards: They are practically nonexistent. In 2007, an incredible miracle collection of ninety-six different Pirate cards surfaced and was sold as a collection. It will remain intact, leaving the available population of sample cards from this legendary set at the same modest level. REA offered its first T215 Pirate Cigarettes example in 2008. At that time, it was the only one we had ever even seen in person, and we had only heard of the existence of a total of approximately five additional samples in the entire collecting world. In REA's Spring 2013 auction, five additional examples (which we previously had no idea existed and had been kept in the collection of our consignor since the 1990s) were sold, and each realized in excess of $10,000! (Those cards were said to have originated with Sir Edward Wharton Tigar, one of the greatest of all pioneer collectors, whose collection is now housed in the British Museum in London.) The rare Pirate Cigarette backs are printed in green and feature a cigarette pack with a pirate standing on a ship. This card is bright, fresh, and perfectly clean, both front and back, with four sharp corners; it is Near Mint to Mint in appearance. All T215 Pirate Cigarette cards we have ever offered were encapsulated "Authentic" by PSA. We believe this is because most of the known T215 Pirates, outside of those from the large collection of ninety-six, were possibly cut from a sheet and would more accurately be described as hand-cut. This is an outstanding example of one of card collecting's rarest and most fascinating tobacco-card issues, and one of sample-card collecting's most elusive rarities. From the Dan Gantt Collection. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $7,200


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