Issued in 1912, the T207 release is a different kind of tobacco baseball card set. We’ve written about the set here before and, personally, it’s a favorite of mine. From the dark and mysterious aesthetics and somewhat odd player checklist, it’s significantly different than most other tobacco sets from the same time period.
The set is difficult to complete for any number of reasons. For one thing, the cards are much rarer than the more popular T205 and T206 sets. The issue also includes several cards that are not cheap in any condition. And while many big names are missing from it, it still has several big-time players, including Walter Johnson, Tris Speaker, and others. But the numerous shortprints in the set are what really give collectors fits.
T207 Broadleaf/Cycle Shortprints
Many tobacco sets were issued for more than one brand and that means you can find the same card fronts with different back advertisements. T207 is no exception. But the unique thing about the T207 set is that cards with certain backs cannot be found with other backs.
For example Recruit-backed cards are the most common ones in the entire set. But while players with Recruit back advertisements are also found with Napoleon advertisements, they are not found with the Broadleaf or Cycle backs. Those two groups are exclusive to each other. So you won’t find a player with a Broadleaf back also on a card with a Recruit back. And you won’t find a player with a Napoleon back with a Cycle back.
While the Napoleon backs are extremely difficult to find, they don’t really hinder a collector from completing a set. That is because cards with Napoleon backs are also found with Recruit backs, and the Recruit backs are the most common. Barring something crazy like completing a master set with every possible front/back combination, Napoleon backs are a non-factor when completing a set.
But what is a problem for collectors are the cards with the Broadleaf and Cycle advertisements. Both of those are tough to find and that creates a major problem. If only a few of those cards existed, it might not be too much of an issue. But with 50 of those cards in the set, it’s an incredibly difficult challenge.
One break for collectors is that the players with Broadleaf and Cycle backs can also be found with anonymous backs without any sponsor name. Those cards are not particularly easy to find but they do typically cost a little less and help make finding those shortprints a bit easier. Still, the Broadleaf / Cycle subset makes completion a significant challenge. Common Broadleaf / Cycle cards in decent shape generally start around $200.
Buck Weaver Rookie Card
Many of the names of the Broadleaf / Cycle players won’t be known to casual collectors. But one of the cards is among the bigger names in the entire set.
Among the shortprints is the card of Buck Weaver, banned player and cult hero from the 1919 Black Sox team.
Weaver’s card has an extra bit of interest because, while he has some minor league cards, this one is also considered to be his major league rookie card. Even in low-grade condition, the card typically starts around $500. If you want a better copy, you can expect to pay at least $1,000 for it.
Expensive No Names
One of the frustrating things for some collectors piecing together a set will be shelling out some big money for virtually unheard of players. That’s one of the less appealing parts of being a set collector in general but it’s particularly annoying in T207. Some of the most expensive cards in the set feature the least known players.
Irving Lewis is generally considered the most expensive cards in the set. He has two variations and neither is cheap. That is despite the fact that he never appeared in a single major league game.
His more common card pictures him with an emblem on a sleeve of his uniform but the rarer card is missing the emblem. Even in low-grade condition, the card with the emblem starts around $1,500-$2,000. But the missing emblem card often tops five figures.
Another no name player that is quite costly is Louis Lowdermilk.
Lowdermilk played in only parts of two major league seasons but you’d never guess that based on the price of his card. Lowerdermilk’s card is rare and expensive, despite not playing very much. In low-grade condition, you can expect to pay more than $1,000 for it.