T206 Joe Doyle N.Y. Nat'l Hands Up PSA-2 sold for $1,055,799
Mile High Card Co. (March 31, 2022)
The T206 white border collection is a 520-card series with three issues (T206 Wagner, Plank, and Magee variation) considered so extremely rare that they aren't required to achieve a complete set. For decades, the non-required cards were known as "The Big Three", but then came the discovery of the "Joe Doyle N.Y. Nat'l Hands Up" variation. Proving to be the rarest of them all, it's only fitting that the card joined the trio to make "The Big Four", and here we are. "Slow Joe" Doyle was a pitcher for five seasons in the major leagues, predominantly with the New York Highlanders (Yankees) with a brief stint in Cincinnati. Though he carried an impressive 2.85 lifetime ERA, Doyle never won more than 11 games in any season, never pitched a playoff game, and never came close to leading the league in any statistical pitching category, and his career 22-21 record on the hill is thoroughly pedestrian. Under any other circumstance, a Joe Doyle card, even one from the illustrious T206 series, would be nothing at all noteworthy. But one version of his T206 card has taken prominence within the hobby as arguably the rarest mainstream card known to exist! The number of Joe Doyle "Hands Up" variations with the "N. Y. Nat'l" heading is thought to be far less than even the legendary Honus Wagner card, with PSA reporting just 10 graded examples on record, 4 of which carry the Piedmont 350 reverse. Early in the printing process, it was discovered that Joe Doyle was erroneously identified as a member of New York's National League team, the Giants. But the Giants player was actually Larry Doyle, a second baseman whose middle name coincidentally was Joe. Realizing that Joe Doyle actually played for New York's American League team, the card was modified, creating one of the most elusive variations known within the hobby. It appears that the printer merely removed the "Nat'l" from the printing plate, probably within the first few minutes of production since the "Doyle N. Y." is oddly in the same position, heavily shifted to the left and not recentered or corrected by an "Amer." print plate. It was the quickest way to get the presses back up and rolling, and since adding an "Amer." to the card would have created yet another variation, they decided to leave it as is. Though similar to the correction of the "Magie" (Magee) error card, as stated earlier another member of the iconic collection's "Big Four", the number of known examples indicates that the Doyle error was discovered far earlier in the production process than the Magee faux pas. It wasn't until some point in the 1990s that the Doyle error was discovered since there are so few examples out there. The featured card, graded PSA 2, shows a considerably centering shift to the right edge with consistent but slightly above-grade rounding at the endpoints. The surface appears free from any major liabilities save for some age discoloration on the reverse and the image of Doyle is clean and bright, but in a case like this, how much of that really matters? Trying to tame "The Monster" by completing a T206 set is a daunting task that can last a lifetime, and that's taking into consideration that most collectors consider "The Big Four" (Wagner, Plank, Magie, and Doyle) to be too scarce to be part of the collection. But for those advanced collectors that want it all, here's undisputably the most difficult card of the fearsome quartet! It could be years, even decades, before you get another chance to land this white whale for your world-class collection. Good luck!
Final Bid with Buyer's Premium (20%): $1,055,799