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LOT 180:  1909-1911 T206 Eddie Plank PSA EX 5



CURRENT BID:  $45,000.00

Start:  4/8/2005 12:00:00 PM EST 

End:  5/1/2005 3:27:33 AM EST

Auction is closed

  STARTING BID:  $15,000.00

BID COUNT:  16 (Bid History)

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Graded EX 5 by PSA. Superb high-grade example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of card collecting's most legendary rarities. Only five examples have ever been graded higher. "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" are the three baseball card rarities that have long been referred to as "The Big Three." These three baseball cards, Wagner and Plank from the T206 series, and Nap Lajoie from 1933 Goudey, have traditionally represented the height of rarity, desirability, and value in the baseball card world. When Jefferson Burdick first published the American Card Catalog in the 1930s, the T206 Wagner was listed as the most valuable baseball card in the world at a then-incredible $50. Plank was the second most valuable card, listed at $10. Over the years, since the days of Jefferson Burdick, other cards have come to be universally recognized as among collecting's most desirable cards, but "Wagner, Plank, and Lajoie" will always be the inaugural members of this elite club, and the three cards that purists among baseball card collectors will always recognize as the ultimate symbols of rarity and desirability. The reasons for the great rarity of Plank are shrouded in mystery. One popular explanation which appears to have no basis in fact is that the printing plate broke. It is far more likely that Plank also objected to having his picture packaged with cigarettes. Like Wagner, Plank is in all the candy card sets of the era but does not appear in any of the primary tobacco card sets issued during this same time period, such as T3, T201, T202, T205, or T207. Since Plank was one of the greatest stars of the day, it is unlikely that the tobacco companies simply forgot to put him in all these sets. It is far more likely that there is a common explanation. This is a magnificent example of T206 Plank, crisp and clean, with perfect printing registration, a flawless, even, deep blue background, no creases, and with just a hint of wear to the corners. It is particularly rare to find such a problem-free example of this card. Like all T206s, including Wagner, a very large percentage survive in lower grades, and very few in higher grades. Among the more common cards in the set, which include virtually all, the law of averages allows for a much greater possibility of a given card being found in high grade, but the pool of survivors of the extreme rarities such as Wagner and Plank make high-grade examples far rarer and more desirable than a simple numerical PSA grade might suggest. A T206 graded Vg-Ex might not sound extraordinary, but if that card were a Wagner, it would be the third highest-graded T206 Wagner in the collecting world of the twenty-five Wagners graded to date by PSA (nineteen of which grade either "1" or "2," four of which grade either "3" or "4," one "5," and one "8.") Similarly, of the thirty T206 Planks graded to date by PSA, thirteen grade either "1" or "2," ten grade "3" or "4," only two (including the offered example) grade "5," two "6," two "7," and one "8." The reverse features an advertisement for Sweet Caporal Cigarettes (350 Subjects, Factory No. 30). This is an outstanding example of T206 Eddie Plank, one of the finest in existence of one of card collecting's most significant rarities. In Excellent condition. Reserve $15,000. Estimate $30,000/$50,000.
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STARTING BID: $15,000.00
CURRENT BID: $45,000.00
NEXT BID: $47,500.00
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