The T216 Peoples Tobacco issue is a rare one that is easily recognized by its three distinctive advertising back sponsors in Kotton, Mino, and Virginia Extra. Here’s a closer look at the issue.
T216 Peoples Tobacco Basics
The T216 Peoples Tobacco cards look similar to other tobacco and candy issues of the era. Each one features a color lithograph of a player on the front with his name, position, and team at the bottom in a white border area. Measuring at 1 1/2″ wide x 2 5/8″ tall, they also fit the typical size for most cards of that time period as well.
The pictures will be familiar to some pre-war collectors. Images were the same for players as found in the E90-1 American Caramel and E92 Dockman/Nadja/Croft sets. Cards were produced starting in 1911 and production seems to have ended either in 1914 or 1916.
The cards are interesting. in part, because of the back advertisements for Peoples Tobacco brands. Similar to the T206 set, these cards featured a variety of backs and the sponsors included Kotton Cigarettes/Kotton Tobacco, Mino Cigarettes, and Virginia Extra. The card stock can vary for the cards as well as some were printed on a thicker card stock and others, a thinner paper type of stock.
In terms of rarity, all three are difficult finds. Kotton, however, is likely the most plentiful because their ads appear on three of the five different backs.
T216 Peoples Tobacco Back Advertisements
All of the advertisements were printed in only black ink and the brand names were printed in between two sets of double lines. A decorative addition was included on the lines as well that resembled a pair of butterfly wings. In addition, the bottom of each card had the Peoples Tobacco Company, Ltd. name as well as their location in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fonts varied, however, and the different backs had different slogans, too.
Mino Cigarettes card backs have the phrases, “Mild and Sweet” and “Not in the Trust” printed top to bottom while the Virginia Extra Cigarettes cards simply have “Mild and Sweet.” That is the only variation of those backs and the other three are for the Kotton Cigarettes/Tobacco brand. One Kotton Cigarettes back includes the slogan, “Never Go Out,” while a second says, “Extra Mild Not in a Trust.” The final back advertisement is for Kotton Tobacco reads, “Mild and Sweet,” and also lists reasons why consumers should use it.
T216 Peoples Tobacco Stars
While a total of 74 different poses are known to be in the set, a master set would contain more than 100 cards based on font size (in the names and print on the front) and team change variations. No matter how you look at it, though, there are lots of stars here.
The set is anchored by Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner, and each player having multiple cards only adds to the already complex nature of trying to complete a full master set. In all, the issue includes three different Ty Cobb variations and four Honus Wagner variations. Other big names included are Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Eddie Plank, Nap Lajoie, and a host of numerous other Hall of Famers.
T216 Peoples Tobacco Prices
The T216 Peoples Tobacco cards are rare and not particularly for the price-conscious collector. You can find several via this link to Amazon and a few more on eBay. In general, there usually aren’t more than a few on eBay at any given time and they generally start in the $500 range for commons in lesser mid-grade shape. Bigger names can easily get into four, and even five, figures, depending on condition. A Honus Wagner SGC 30, for example, sold for more than $11,000 at an auction.