If one were assembling the most unique pre-war baseball card sets, there’s little question that the 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders would be included.
Included as an incentive inside packages of Mecca Cigarettes, the 2-1/4″ by 4-11/16″ cards feature two players, one on each side. But the most interesting feature of the cards is by far its unique shape. The cards are deliberately folded in half with a player on each side, sharing the same pair of legs.
While the cards fold in half, the two parts not equal with one half measuring a little longer than the other. The backs include the top of one of the players (so that when folded, it presents a complete picture aligning with the bottom – both tops of players align with the same bottom) with the rest of that side containing statistical information along with the Mecca Cigarettes logo. The T201 Mecca Double Folders cards, in fact, were one of the earliest releases to include stats of any sort. Put it all together and you have one intriguing card.
T201 Mecca Double Folders preceded the T202 Hassan Triple Folders and, with only 50 cards in the entire set, also included a smaller number of cards.
It’s one of the more bargain-oriented pre-War sets, likely because of the unusual nature of the cards and also because the images of the players are not among the most true to life.
Despite the weird layout and a short checklist, the T201 Mecca Double Folders set is loaded with key players.
Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson lead the way, but there’s plenty more here, too. Other Hall of Famers include Home Run Baker, Eddie Collins, Chief Bender, Roger Bresnahan, Miller Huggins, Mordecai Brown, Fred Clarke, Frank Chance, Johnny Evers, Sam Crawford, Nap Lajoie, Tris Speaker, Hughie Jennings, Walter Johnson, Zack Wheat, and Joe McGinnity. Mathewson’s last name is misspelled but the error wasn’t corrected.
In addition to the players inducted in Cooperstown, other key stars include White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte and Highlanders/Yankees star Hal Chase. One interesting card, too, is that of Harry Lord and Patsy Dougherty, which is a little harder to find and sells for a premium above other commons. It’s believed the card was only produced at one of the two factories where T201s were created, creating a short print. Charles Herzog/Roy Miller has also proven to be a challenge for collectors.
Notable for their absence in the T201 set are Honus Wagner, whose attitude toward inclusion in tobacco products went beyond T206 and Cy Young, whose career was winding down.
One great feature about Mecca Double Folders is finding those issues that include two stars. The most valuable card in the entire set is easily Cobb’s card. It would likely be the most expensive card no matter who was on the reverse, but it’s even more valuable because the other side includes Crawford, another Hall of Famer.
In all, there are four cards with two Hall of Famers included:
T201 Mecca Double Folders Pricing
You might expect such a quirky set loaded with stars to be an expensive pursuit. That actually isn’t the case with the T201 Mecca Double Folders. It isn’t dirt cheap by any means, but can be pieced together for a reasonable amount.
Granted, the Cobb/Crawford cards start around $500. Mathewson’s cards are also a little pricey as well with mid-grade copies costing $300-$400. But aside from that, the others in the set aren’t too much. Mid-grade commons can often be purchased starting around $50-$75. Other mid-grade Hall of Famers usually fall somewhere in the $100-$300 range, depending on the exact condition and players involved. With only 50 cards in the set, it makes putting one together a reasonable proposition. Complete graded sets can often be found at auction for $3,000-$4,000, sometimes a little less.
Higher grade sets do come on the market, but not that often. The third-ranked set on PSA’s registry sold for $11,400 in the spring of 2015 via Robert Edward Auctions with a GPA of over 6; not an outrageous sum for a 105-year-old set that isn’t easy to piece together.
You can see a few hundred T201s on eBay by clicking here.