Recently, I was involved in an email discussion with Stephen Laroche, who is the Beckett Hockey editor and we were discussing a couple of the “Bigfoot” Hockey cards which may or may not even exist. But did you know that a few baseball cards have been rumored to exist for about 40 years? And more interestingly, some of them eventually did surface.
As usual this is far from a comprehensive list of these cards but there a few worthy of mention. Yes, there are cards that have bedeviled baseball card collectors since the beginning of time. One of the oldest examples of what was a hobby legend which ended up being verified was the “Slow Joe” Doyle card in the T206 set.
For years, Larry Fritsch had one of those variations and kept putting out ads to buy any Doyle cards in the T206 card set. When he finally found a second card with the “N. Y. Nat'l” at the bottom and the arms in the air he released a copy into the market and after many years, was able to prove this card was indeed a rare variation. A couple of years ago Robert Edward Auctions auctioned off a copy and it went for a huge price.
There is a really bizarre follow up about 15 years or so ago. The story goes at a Pennsylvania show, Levi Bleam of 707 Sportscards came up with one of these cards in a collection he purchased. Alan Rosen got upset he did not buy that deal so he supposedly came up with another one of these cards at the next show. After some more tracing of the story which we followed from reading SCD's Trade Fax each week, Al's card turned out to be a clever fake and I always wondered if everyone really knew that Al's card was not good while Levi's sure was.
Another T 206 Card which was long rumored to exist but took a long time to hit the market was the T206 Ty Cobb with a Ty Cobb Tobacco back. A man named Cliff Lambert used to advertise each month in the Trader Speaks to buy T206 Cobb cards for $3 each and in retrospect I always wondered if he wanted Cobb cards or was looking for the Cobb back or perhaps both. Today, it’s a very valuable and unique issue.
And speaking of good marketing, how many of you remember Josh Evans and the first "million dollar card”? Josh came up with a copy of Fred Lindstrom from the 1930's U.S. Caramel Set. Here is a link to a cool story about that card circa 1988. That card got Josh so much publicity he was able to really gain momentum for his Lelands auction house out of just this one card.
All three of these cards were proven to later exist but here are a couple which have never been printed. The first one is the 1959 Topps Bill White with no trade notation on the back. This rumor seems to have pretty much dissipated and I doubt there will ever be a ‘no trade’ copy found. That was always a card I was hoping to find but instead I'm not convinced there is only the traded version.
Did Topps ever correct it? After nearly 50 years of searching by collectors, no other variation has turned up despite rumors to the contrary years ago.
Nevertheless we join those successful hunters in continuing to seek that one in a million shot where there are errors and the potential of corrections. And isn't that another part of what makes collecting so much fun?