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1911 Piedmont Cigarettes Unopened Pack That Could Possibly Contain a T206 Card sold for $8,888

Robert Edward Auctions (April 27, 2014)

Presented is an original unopened pack of Piedmont cigarettes (Factory 25, Dist. VA.) dating from the era of T206 tobacco cards! This is a remarkable rarity. An unopened T206-era pack is FAR rarer than collectors realize. In fact, this is the first example we have ever offered or even seen! Over the years we have seen and been offered countless unopened tobacco packs (all turned down by REA, including numerous erroneously dated "graded" packs) that allegedly were from the T206 era and which, upon researching the actual dating of the packs, were from a more recent era. We have also seen numerous unopened packs offered for sale and at at public auction elsewhere as possibly containing a T206 that, upon checking the packaging, with a little research, were simply NOT from the T206 era. This is the first and only unopened pack that we have ever seen, let alone handled, that actually dates from the era in which T206s were issued and could actually contain a T206 card!

We should clarify that there is absolutely no guarantee that there is, in fact, a T206 inside this unopened Piedmont pack. There is really no way for us to know with certainty. It is even possible the pack includes a T205 Gold Border or a nonsport card.

This Piedmont pack is a "Liggett & Myers" pack. This attribute defines it as dating from 1911 or after, as 1911 was the year the American Tobacco Company broke into several smaller companies, including Liggett & Myers. The tax stamp affixed to the end of the unopened pack dates from only 1911 to 1917, thus dating the pack with certainty to those years. There is no overprint on the tax stamp, a fact which does not allow us to date the pack more narrowly than from 1911 to 1917 (all Piedmont packs from this span of years look exactly the same with the exception of a possible overprint which, if present, would allow for an even more precise dating), but we know with certainty that 1911, the final year of issue for T206 cards, is a possibility. For future reference for collectors, we note that at a glance one can determine if a pack is a 1909-1911 T206 era pack based on the number of cigarettes in the pack: The fact that this pack is a ten-cigarette pack, of course, is consistent with the pack dating from the T206 era (twelve-cigarette packs, which have been presented as T206 packs in the past, were not issued until 1917 or later). Lastly, we know that Piedmont Cigarettes, Factory 25, District Virginia cards were issued as part of the T206 series. These facts define the offered pack as one that could actually contain a T206 card in its original as-issued form!

REA appreciates the invaluable assistance provided by tobacco pack expert Jon Canfield, who has provided us with a great deal of information and insight into this pack and packs in general. Special reference note: Jon Canfield's website (www.baseballandtobacco.com) is the premier Internet source for baseball related cigarette and tobacco pack information.

While collectors will appreciate this pack for its tremendous rarity regardless of its condition, the pack has miraculously survived in Excellent condition over the past century. Bright and clean, with only small tobacco stains visible, the pack remains firm and crisp. The tax stamp, band, and slide are all fully intact. We would not recommend anyone purchasing this pack attempt to open it, as not only could this be very expensive, but the possibility exists for disappointment if there were no card at all or one were to wind up with a card from some nonsport tobacco-card set. This pack is special enough, unopened, as very possibly containing a Factory 25 T206 card (certainly the most probable we have ever seen). But if the winner does decide to open it, we hope they will document the event, perhaps doing it live or on video so that all interested collectors can share the experience, the result of which could range anywhere from the pack containing a Gem Mint key card - or even more than one card - to being the tobacco pack equivalent of Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone's Vaults! (which we remember well and loved, even though Geraldo didn't find anything other than a few broken bottles). We are amazed at the rarity of a true T206 unopened pack and the fact that this is the first of its type we have ever encountered. This is a fascinating and exciting item for both a T206 or unopened-pack collector. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium (18.5%): $8,888


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