Saturday, March 12, 2011
The T205 "Gold Border" set, which came out in 1911, is, in my opinion, one
of the prettiest sets ever issued. The American Tobacco Company outdid
itself with the vibrant colors, distinctive design, and rich gold border.
There are three different leagues represented in the T205 series: the American, National, and Minor Leaguers. The American League cards are identified by the baseball diamond surrounding the portrait of the player with their team logo near the top. The National League cards show a simple colored background with the first-ever use of a facsimile (printed) autograph of the player. The Minor Leaguers are made up of 12 cards printed with obvioulsy different and much more detailed borders.
These cards measure 1 ½ x 2 5/8 and were available randomly in many brands of cigarettes (the "T" stands for tobacco, remember), including: Hassan, Polar Bear, American Beauty, Cycle, Piedmont, Sovereign, Sweet Caporal, Honest, Broadleaf, Hindu, and Drum.
The "Gold Borders" are the first issue to include a bio and statistics of the player on the back of the cards. T205's are VERY hard to find in really good, high grade condition, due to that gorgeous gold border--it's easily chipped gold leaf--and the generally fragile nature of the cards.
This set has tons of short prints, quite a few variations (my favorite is the Eddie Collins "Open Mouth" and "Closed Mouth"), and many Hall of Famers. Ever heard of Ty Cobb, Christie Mathewson, Walterd Johnson, Tris Speaker, and Cy Young? Despite all the big name players, the most difficult card find is, supposedly, the Hoblitzell with no stats on the back!