The T207 brown background set isn’t on the radar for most collectors. While the T206 is arguably the most popular pre-war set available with the T205 gold border issue not far behind, T207s just aren’t as popular. The cards have a dark look to them with little color included, the set is missing some big stars from that era, and they are also much more difficult to find than the other sets.
Still, even though the cards aren’t the most attractive produced, there are some real gems in this release. In alphabetical order, here are ten of them to chase–some more valuable than others.
1. Jack Barry
Barry isn’t one of the stars in the set and he had only a modest playing career. So why is his card worth tracking? He was part of the Philadelphia Athletics’ prized ‘$100,000 Infield.’ Consisting of Barry, Hall of Famers Eddie Collins and Home Run Baker, as well as Stuffy McInnis, it has been declared by some to be among the best of all-time. Another reason collectors flock to Barry’s card is that it is the lone horizontal issue in the entire set. You can own a very respectable one for under $150.
2. Max Carey
Carey didn’t break into the majors until 1910, so he was missing from the earlier T205 and T206 tobacco card sets. His T207 is worthwhile to pick up for that reason alone as it was his only appearance in the American Tobacco Company’s (ATC) run of trading cards in those three releases. Carey went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The lone recognized back error, the Bill Carrigan and Heinie Wagner cards provide for an intriguing combo. The two were teammates in Boston and are forever linked in this set. The Carrigan error card features Wagner’s biography on the back while the Wagner card displays Carrigan’s. Both have corrected versions that are relatively plentiful, but it’s the error cards that are more sought after.
1919 Chicago Black Sox players are always heavily desired and that includes Eddie Cicotte. Cicotte was one of the main figures in the fix to throw the World Series back in 1919 and his T207 card, featuring him as a member of the Boston Red Sox, is worth a look.
One of the primary complaints of the T207 set is that many of the big stars (i.e. Ty Cobb and Cy Young, to name a few) are missing. That makes the Big Train’s card that much more attractive. Unfortunately, the artwork on his card leaves a lot to be desired. But, well, it’s still Walter Johnson.
6. Irving Lewis
“What is an Irving Lewis?” That might be your first inclination here if you’re unfamiliar with the T207 set. But despite not having much of a baseball career, his card is actually one of the more sought after in the entire release. As collector and sports announcer Keith Olbermann wrote previously, Lewis never played in the majors and was believed to have only a modest minor league career. Lewis’ cards (he has two – one with a uniform patch and one without), however, are certainly key ones in the set and found with only the elusive Broadleaf/Cycle backs. Either version will almost always cost you more than $1,000.
Like Lewis, Lowdermilk isn’t known by many non-pre war card collectors. However, he, Lewis, and Ward Miller (see below) are believed to have the three most difficult cards in the T207 set. Like the Lewis card, one of the reasons Lowdermilk’s is so difficult to find is that it is found with only the rare Broadleaf/Cycle back (although Lowdermilk was found with several ultra-rare Red Cross backs a few years ago).
Lowdermilk played for only two seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before becoming involved in politics. These are rarely available, but one is currently up for auction.
8. Ward Miller
Rounding out the Big Three is Ward Miller. Miller joins Lewis and Lowdermilk as extremely tough finds and no T207 list would be complete without them. And, you guessed it, aside from an Anonymous back, you’ll only find Miller with the Broadleaf or Cycle back. Even low grade copies often sell for around $1,000 or more.
9. Buck Weaver
Like Cicotte, Weaver was a part of that infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox team. But unlike the pitcher, this is the only ATC T205, T206, or T207 card you’ll find of him. Weaver was believed by many to know of the fix but not to have participated. He didn’t get into the Big Leagues until 1912, which explains his exclusion in those earlier releases. Lower grade issues don’t run quite so steep but mid grade raw cards are over $1,000.
10. Smoky Joe Wood
Wood was one of the hardest throwers of his generation. He didn’t make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but won an astounding 34 games in the year the T207 cards were released, 1912. Those wins and his 35 complete games led the league that year. His cards are highly desired and, as is the case with several others on this list, you won’t find him in the T205 or T206 sets.
You can see T207 cards on eBay here.