From 1910 through 1919, Coupon Cigarettes issued a number of pre-war tobacco cards. While the sets were familiar to other cards such as the T206 set, there has always been some confusion about these cards. Here’s a bit more on the unique T213 Coupon Cigarettes releases.
The T213 Coupon Cigarettes cards are really split into three subsets, mostly identified as T213-1, T213-2, and T213-3. Some collectors refer to them as Type 1, Type 2, or Type 3 instead. While all are similar, some things such as team changes, advertising backs, and the years in which they were released differ from set to set.
In general, though, the cards are your typical tobacco card from the early 1910s. They measure approximately 1 1/2″ wide by 2 5/8″ tall and feature full color lithographs of players. The pictures will be familiar to collectors of the T206 set since they were the same ones used in that issue. Some T206 collectors, in fact, feel that some of the Coupon Cigarettes cards should be considered T206 cards because of their similarities. More on that in a bit.
Let’s take a look at the three subsets.
The T213-1 cards are the ones, in particular, that some collectors feel should be considered T206 cards. That’s because, not only are the images the same, but the layout for the rest of the cards on the front is the same, too. These cards have the familiar white border and the name and team below in the same brown font found on the T206 cards. Looking at the fronts, you’d be sort of hard-pressed to determine that they weren’t actually T206. They were also printed in 1910, smack dab in the middle of the T206 production, which ran from 1909-11.
The backs included the Coupon name at the time with the word ‘(Mild)’ in between it and ‘Cigarettes.’ The cards are simply called the ‘Base Ball Series’ and these backs are easily the most simplistic among the three subsets. With a checklist of 68 cards, this is also the smallest of the three Coupon issues.
These cards are similar to their T213-1 brethren but slightly different. The easiest point of distinction when looking at the fronts is the type of the print. The player’s name and team appears at the bottom, but is printed in blue and in a different type of font.
These cards were printed in 1914-1916 and was the largest of the three sets at 188 cards. The backs are also different, referencing that the cigarettes are sold at a rate of 20 for only five cents. Backs also give us a little more insight on the company, mentioning that the cigarettes were made in New Orleans.
Finally, the third type of Coupon Cigarettes cards are the T213-3 issues. These cards again utilized the blue font, making them a little hard to tell from those found in the Type 2 release. These backs also gave even more insight into the product and the series. First, printed in 1919, the back shows a price increase in the cost of the cigarettes. Previously sold 20 at a time for only five cents, the price had now risen to ten cents for only 16. The T213-3 Coupon cards also indicate there are a total of 70 cards in the series.
While 70 are listed on the back, there seems to be some slight variance on that. Some publications list 70 in the checklist while others, such as PSA’s set composition, says there are only 69. The point of contention is between a card for Rube Marquard. While checklists agree that he is in the set, some say he has two variations (a pitching and a portrait) while some only list a pitching card.
T213 Coupon Cigarettes Prices
T213 cards are rarer than the common T206 backs such as Piedmont, Sweet Caporal, or Polar Bear. As a result, you can expect to pay significantly more for them. Mid-grade commons at the lower end of the spectrum start in the $75 – $100 range. The Cobb cards are the most desirable and command good money, even in lesser condition. A mid-grade example, an SGC 50/4 sold for $12,000 in a 2015 auction.
You can see T213 Coupon Cigarettes cards on eBay by clicking here.