Card of the Day: Rube Waddell 1909-11 T206 Piedmont Throwing

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Treasure Detectives Tackle The Cobb-Edwards T206 Wagner

Thanks to shows like Pawn Stars, sports memorabilia has been getting its share of prime time coverage.  I usually make it a point to watch if I hear that a sports related item is going to be featured in one of their segments.  One of the newest shows that deals with collectibles began this month on CNBC Prime called Treasure Detectives.  In this show, experts take a look at specific items brought to them by individuals and they determine whether or not the item is real or fake based on a handul of forensic tests.  The hour long program usually swaps back and forth during the investigation process between the two items that are in question.  Its a refreshing show that doesn’t focus mainly on the item’s value, although dollar amounts do pop-up when they talk about what the item could potential be worth if it is determined to be authentic.

In the second episode, part of the show covers the Cobb-Edwards 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner tobacco card.  Out of the 50 or 60 examples that exist today, this one has been in question for years.  According to Edwards, it was purchased from someone who obtained it at an estate sale in 1980.  Before that, there isn’t too much history on how the card surfaced or who owned it.  It was originally purchased supposedly for $1,800.00.  Over the years the card has gone through a handful of tests each coming up with vague yes-no determinations.  Eventually it landed itself in an ACA Grading holder which deemed the card to be authentic.  Why would they use ACA Grading to authenticate their card?  Most likely because they were the only company willing to touch the card and say it was real.  ACA probably wanted some attention from the hobby too.

For a majority of the show, Mr. Edwards wouldn’t let the examiners remove the card from it’s holder.  It wasn’t until the end where they brought in the individual from ACA Grading who encased the card and asked him to remove it so they could take a closer look under a microscope.  While taking a look at it with the microscope, you could clearly see the print pattern on the Cobb-Edwards card was not consistent with other T206 cards from the same set.  The font and spacing was off too.  One of the best ways to determine if a T206 card is counterfeit is to compare it to another common card from the set.  These cards were originally made as promos, and were expected to be thrown out.  They didn’t go out of their way to make some cards better looking than others.  Scanning the card in the CT scanner revealed that there was a potential bulge near the middle indicating that there might be more than one piece of paper present.  Given that the card was still in its holder at the time of the scan, they indicated that their measurements could be off.  I personally don’t buy that for a second.  CT scanners are designed to see through skin, muscle, tissue, and bone.  Not to mention tumors deep within the brain.  A little plastic holder shouldn’t be a problem.  Then again, I’m no doctor.

It was interesting to watch the show’s experts go about making a fake.  The end result was a spot on match to the Cobb-Edwards card.  The paper used on the Cobb-Edwards card is old which leads me to believe that its probably just an early fake.  Given all this information, it was no surprise that in the end they came to the conclusion the card isn’t the real thing.  Most collectors that were already aware of this card have had that in their heads for years.

As for the Canadian based ACA Grading.  What little reputation they had in the industry has been blown out to sea.

Treasure Detectives can be seen on CNBC Prime Tuesday nights @ 9:00 EST.  They also run re-runs all the time.

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Card of the Day: John Lannan 2010 Topps T206 Auto

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Card of the Day: Brian Schneider 2010 Topps T206 Auto

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Making A Bold Prediction

I’m going to make a very bold prediction.  Someday one of the major card manufacturers will purchase a very valuable vintage card, cut it up, and insert various pieces into newer cards.  The signs have been there all along and it sure wouldn’t surprise me one bit.  Starting with products like TRISTAR Signa Cuts and slowly moving into more popular products like Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts, its not uncommon to find older cards cut up and reinserted into circulation.  I don’t like the idea of a company cutting up any type of card, even if its only worth one penny.  I really don’t like it when they destroy modern day cards like Topps does with their Pro Debut product.  There is absolutely no reason to cut up a perfectly good AFLAC autograph.  Just insert the whole card.  It would save a lot of time and money.  Hell, I’d settle for a redemption for the entire AFLAC autograph instead of this half breed of a card.

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I can’t believe Topps is doing this for a second year in a row.

Why don’t they just get it over with.  The next time a T206 Honus Wagner shows up for auction, buy it, and cut it up.  When does a card become more than just a card?  When does it become a relic worth cutting up?  What do you think the value of a T206 Honus Wagner relic would be?

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Card of the Day: Bengie Molina 2010 Topps T-206 Auto

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The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories – Review

The T206 Collection: The Players & Their Stories is a great addition to the coffee-table style books about athletes and trading cards.

Reading through this book was like taking a trip back in time.  The ballplayers from that time period are really quite different from the people we are accustomed to watching today.  One of the major things to stick out to me were some of the team names, specifically the Typewriters.  I highly doubt in today’s society you would find a team named after a piece of defunct technology that barely anyone uses.  But I guess at the time a typewriter was a high-tech piece of equipment.  If they did something like that today, I guess they could have a team named the Iowa iPods 🙂

The ballplayers from this era seemed to be a lot tougher too.  They like to bend the rules and try to get away with anything they could.  John McGraw was one of the best to try and fool the umpires.  A lot of these guys had second jobs when they weren’t playing baseball and many of these jobs were very labor intensive.  Today’s players do stuff when they aren’t playing, but whatever they are doing its not the main job that’s paying the bills.  Many of the guys in the T206 set needed second jobs just to live.

One thing that really got my attention, was the fact that so many of these players died at a young age because of disease.  As tough as this guys were, they couldn’t avoid disease.  If they had the medicine we have today, many of them would have had much longer careers.  In fact, they would be in a league of their own and couldn’t even compare to the players of today.

This book was very fun to read and laid out well.  They did an excellent job of researching all the players.  I’m sure some were much harder to dig up information on than others.  I couldn’t believe how many players from the T206 set lived and died around where I’m from.

Next I would like to see a coffee-table style book about the Old Judge tobacco cards from the 1880’s.

Update:

There is a book about Old Judge tobacco cards.  Its called The Photographic Baseball Cards of Goodwin & Company (1886-1890).

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