Believed to have been issued in 1914, the T330 Piedmont Art Stamps are among the more unique tobacco issues. Even though they have are technically classified as a T-Card issue in Jefferson Burdick’s American Card Catalog, they could just as easily be classified as a stamp issue.
Here’s more on this pre-war set that slips by many collectors.
T330 Piedmont Art Stamps Basics
These stamps were issued for the Piedmont Cigarettes brand. They weren’t postage stamps — rather, they were simply decorative stamps to collect. Some collectors of pre-war cards will instantly recognize the artwork used to create them. Pictures on the stamps are the same ones used in the popular T205 card set issued with Piedmont Cigarettes as well as several other tobacco brands.
The most interesting point about the stamps is probably their rarity. While other issues using these pictures (such as the T205 set or the T202 Hassan Triple Folders set) are more plentiful, these stamps are incredibly difficult to track down. To date, PSA and SGC have graded only about 200 of them combined, with SGC grading about 3/4 of those.
Fronts of the stamps, as stated, include the same pictures that are found on T205 cards. But instead of the trademark T205 gold borders, these have white ones along with perforated edges. The Piedmont Art Stamps name is also printed in blue ink across the bottom, identifying the set.
Backs included a canned, uniform advertisement stating that an album to house the stamps could be obtained by sending in 25 Piedmont coupons to the Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company by June 1915. That, of course, varied from the backs of the T205 cards, which included biographies and statistics of the players.
Finally, it should be noted that a full checklist may not be known. Checklists commonly cite that there are nearly 120 in the set and I have seen some variances on exactly how many exist. However, given the small amount that have been graded, it is quite possible that unchecklisted stamps exist even beyond the ones we know.
One interesting note in that regard is found in the American Card Catalog. Burdick indicates a total of 100 stamps are in the baseball set. He surely got that from the back of them as that was plainly stated as the number in the issue. However, we know that more than that are known to exist.
The rarity of this issue certainly does not help in determining a full checklist for it. We do know, however, that some of the game’s biggest stars from the era are found in it. The set includes stamps of players such as Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Also found in it are other notable Hall of Famers, including Tris Speaker, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, John McGraw, Home Run Baker, Frank Chance, Three Finger Brown, Joe Tinker, and Bobby Wallace, among others.
More Than Baseball
While some collectors may be familiar with the baseball stamps, many do not know those were actually part of a much larger set.
Earlier, I mentioned the stamps should really be recognized as their full classification of T330-2. The ‘2’ part of that is actually a sub-category created by Burdick to distinguish the baseball stamps from others. And just as the T330 baseball stamps aligned with another tobacco card issue in T205, the others did as well. As mentioned in the American Card Catalog, there are a total of seven sub-series’ that make up the full T330 issue:
- T330-1: Animals
- T330-2: Baseball Players
- T330-3: Birds
- T330-4: Fish
- T330-5: Flags
- T330-6: Soldiers
- T330-7: Types of Nations
The other stamps are certainly pursued by non-sports collectors. However, as you probably expected, the baseball players are easily the most sought after and the most valuable.
T330 Baseball Stamp Prices
The T330 Piedmont Art Stamps are not seen all that frequently and that has provided for some significantly high asking prices. Common stamps in other series can be bought starting around $10-$20 but the baseball stamps are much more. Common baseball stamps usually start around $100-$150 or so with more being asked for the bigger names. A Cobb SGC 5 sold in a Mile High auction for just over $4,500 in 2018. A precious few can usually be found on eBay.
Unlike other pre-war issues, these are infrequently available on eBay. eBay typically has only a few for sale and only one recent sale there has been recorded – an SGC 10 of Eddie Cicotte, which fetched $249.99.
Because of the rarity, finding a complete set is nearly impossible. REA, however, did manage to land a nearly complete set featuring 94 of the stamps. That collection sold in 2018 for $30,000.