Saturday, February 8, 2020

You gotta know when to fold 'em

If you're familiar with pre-war baseball cards, then you almost certainly know about T206s. They were issued between 1909-11 by the American Tobacco Company, and contain what is probably the most famous, and most value, baseball card of them all: the famed T206 White Border Honus Wagner.

The ATC issued numerous other tobacco card issues as well. In 1912, under the Hassan Cork Tip brand, they issued a set known as T202 Triple Folders. At 132 cards, the set about 1/4th the size of the T206 offering, but the unique shape of the cards makes them about four times the size of a T206.

Distributed in packages of Hassan Cork Tip Cigarettes, the card measure 2 1/4" high by 5 1/2" wide. They contain a white bordered player card (about the size of a T206) on each end, with a black and white action photo (about the width of 2 T206s) in the middle. The cards were then folded in the places, to measure about the size of a T206 pack.

The back of the card contains three write-ups. A player write-up on the back of each "player portion" of the card, and then a write-up on the centre panel that explains the play happening on the front.


The set consists of 137 different players, arranged in 99 unique "player pairs", 33 of which are repeated, for a total of 132 cards. The end panel images resemble the T205 card, for players that are in the T205 set (not all T202 end panels are found in the T205 set).

The set is not particularly rare, though there are certain combinations that are difficult to track down. There are other cards that aren't particularly tough, but are expensive because of the combinations.

Examples include the Tinker/Chance player pair that contains a centre panel with Johnny Evers, and the Lord catches his man centre-panel that is believed to depict Shoeless Joe Jackson being tagged out as he slides into second.

For those of you out there that want to track down Gibson, he appears on 6 different cards, as follows:

Chase Dives into Third (Gibson, Clarke)
Chase Dives into Third (Phillippe, Gibson)
Chase Guarding First (Gibson, Clarke)
Chase Guarding First (Liefield, Gibson)
Donlin Out at First (Camnitz, Gibson)
Donlin Out at First (Phillipe, Gibson)

None is particularly difficult, though the Clarke versions are a little more expensive owing to the HOFers presence on an end panel.

You can see examples of all 6 Gibson cards here.

If you really want a challenge, there are three back variations of each Gibson in the set. One version is printed in red ink with a factory 30 designation, and two versions are printed in black ink. One black ink version was printed at factory 649 and the other at factory 30. No back, that I am aware of carries a pemium.

Thanks for reading!

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