The T205 gold bordered set is considered one of the most popular pre-war issues. With its biographies on the back and colorful, detailed lithography on the fronts, this issue is a favorite of vintage collectors. The artwork was so great, in fact, that the pictures were re-used in the T202 Triple Folders set a year later. The set has its fair share of expensive cards from Addie Joss’ tribute card to Ty Cobb to the rare shortprints and errors. Even today, new variations are still being discovered, too. But the issue also has quite a few bargains – here are five of them.
Bobby Wallace (with Cap)
Wallace has three different known variations in the set. One features him wearing a baseball cap and two others have him without one. Of the two without a cap, one is an error (showing two lines of 1910 stats) and a second rarer version is a corrected card with only one line of stats for 1910.
The bargain here is Wallace’s card depicting him with a cap. It’s by far the most common and is a good chance to pick up a Hall of Famer at a low price. Wallace’s ‘cap’ version can be found in decent condition for around $100.
Joe Tinker/Johnny Evers/Frank Chance
The Chicago Cubs’ famous double play combination of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance features three more Hall of Famers you can get on the cheap. Each has only one variation in the set and they don’t command nearly the attention that the set’s biggest stars like Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, or Walter Johnson, do.
Under the radar, you can get nice copies of any of these three for around $100 or even less. For example, a PSA 3 Tinker recently sold on eBay for around $100 and a check of eBay shows all three are still pretty affordable.
Hal Chase (Border Extends)
Chase is another big name in the set with more than one variation and, like Wallace, he also has a third card that is a correction of an error. Two of his cards show him facing straight ahead while a third is more of a side view. One of the cards depicting him facing ahead has the baselines in the diamond-shaped background extending beyond his shoulders. That is the error card as the lines are drawn directly over top of his picture. A corrected card has the baseline stopping at his shoulders and that is the rarer version that generally commands more money.
Chase isn’t a Hall of Famer but would likely be had gambling accusations not dogged his career. You can find the card with the baseline extending through his shoulders starting around $60.
Otis Crandall Error and Correction
The T205 set has a lot of errors and while there were subsequent corrections, many of them are a little pricey. One, though, can be found pretty cheap. Unlike others that had errors in their biographies, Crandall’s error was in his signature. One version of his card has the ‘T’ in his signature uncrossed while a corrected version has the horizontal line added in. According to PSA pop reports, the crossed ‘T’ version seems to be slightly more populous, but not by much. As a result, the two cards are basically treated about the same.
Crandall isn’t a special player but for those base set collectors looking to add the error/correction cards, this is the easiest combo to pursue. Either card in decent shape often sells for $50 or less.
Contemporary cards featuring members of the infamous 1919 Chicago Black Sox team aren’t cheap. But the T205 set actually has one of the more affordable cards of star pitcher Eddie Cicotte. Had his career not been cut short after he was banned for his part in the World Series fix, he would have had a good chance to become a Hall of Famer. Twice, he led the league in wins (28 in 1917 and 29 in 1919) and he was one of the game’s top pitchers of the late 1910s.
While many Cicotte cards are easily hundreds of dollars, his T205 issue is significantly less expensive. Mid-grade copies of the card at the lower end of the spectrum can be found at a very reasonable price.