The 1912 Hassan Triple Folders set (T202, for you American Card Catalog buffs) is one of the more interesting pre-war issues out there in terms of design. The cards are long and narrow but fold in two places. The two end panels feature individual pictures of players that were used in the 1911 T205 set and the middle includes a black and white action image.
But while the complete, unaltered cards are preferred, a pretty strong market exists for the individual panels as well.
Three Cards in One
Similar to the 1980-81 Topps basketball set, which features the rookie cards of NBA legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the T202 cards are three cards in one, to some degree. But while those Topps cards were perforated and, as many would argue, designed to be separated, that’s not really the case with the T202 set. These cards do have a natural folding line to them but are not perforated.
Nevertheless, many of the cards were indeed cut or torn apart, anyway. Still, you might be surprised to know that the individual panels are actually quite collectable these days.
In speaking with other collectors, these seem to be collected more than before. You’ll routinely find individual panels of the cards in places like eBay with asking prices often in the $10-$20 range for commons and more for stars and Hall of Famers. Now, while it’s true that sellers can ask any prices they want, these panels are actually selling with good regularity in that price range with about 80 auctions sold in the past couple of months.
End Panels vs. Middle Panels
Again, these are the colored cards which are the same images found in the T205 set. Individually, they can fool collectors not familiar with them as unscrupulous sellers can peddle them as T205s. But the difference is easily seen as the T202 panels will have white borders while T205 cards have gold borders. The end panels look more like a standard tobacco card of that era and it makes perfect sense that they would be more desirable.
The middle panels, however, also have value. They aren’t sold as frequently and, given that there is only one of those for every two of the end panels, part of the reason for that is probably that there simply aren’t as many. They also often feature shots where it is difficult to identify the players from the front. Most, however, are identified in a small writeup on the back.
A Good Investment?
So, are these card ‘portions’ a good investment? Tough to say but they do seem to be steadily selling these days.
However, collectors should be aware that they are not complete cards and that the full, unaltered cards themselves aren’t even much more. You can generally buy an uncut lower-end T202 common for around $20 and ones in decent shape for around $30. So, in the end, it really doesn’t make much sense to spend $15 each on three panels when you can buy a complete card for significantly less.
Nevertheless, these individual panels do seem to be selling well and are quite popular with collectors.