Tuesday, July 26, 2011
1911 T-205 Gold Borders
Front Design: There are three different designs based on which league the subject played in. All cards have a painted image of the player surrounded by a gold border. National League players have a plain background and for the first time on a card, facsimile autographs. American Leaguers are surrounded by a baseball diamond, while minor leaguers contain a detailed arch-like border.
Back Design: Card backs contain a player biography and basic statistics in addition to an advertisement for one of the tobacco brands in which the set was released.
Parallels and Similars: There are plenty of reprints, some of them marked as such. There are also several sets done in similar style, most notably by Topps in the past decade. The different tobacco brands featured on the back could be considered parallels.
Distribution: Cards were inserted into various brands of cigarettes as a premium.
Thoughts: I really need a better example from this set with the back intact. I can identify the back as being Hassan Factory 649, a common version. This is an easier set to put together than the famous T206, with a smaller, more affordable set. Perfectionists and completionists will have trouble, though, because one variation is extremely rare, and the gold borders are susceptible to damage, making mint and near-mint examples difficult to come by. The art on these cards is beautiful, much better than the Topps homage sets in recent years. This card is tied (with a 1911 Zeenuts) for second oldest baseball card in my collection. I have a T206 sitting stored in Georgia.
Additional Links: The t205.org site contains a checklist with images and approximate values.
Additional Images: What's left of the card back: