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T206 Eddie Plank (Restored) PSA-Auth sold for $21,330

Legendary Auction (March 3, 2010)

Encapsulated and assessed "Authentic" by PSA. Presented is a professionally restored example of one of the most valuable cards in the hobby. The offered card could pass the scrutiny of most of the hobby's leading dealers, as only under careful examination could restoration be detected. Paper fibers of the same age and material have been added to the corners, even though this is not detectable under 10-power magnification or with a black light. Only a few tiny, spotty areas of the deep and rich blue background have been inpainted to restore continuity to the piece’s aesthetic, and the central image has remained untouched. We wish to emphasize that the restoration was performed at the highest level of expertise and was not done for the purpose of passing off the card as completely original. The card presents at the Near Mint to Mint level. Were it unrestored, this certainly could claim to be one of the finest Eddie Plank cards in the hobby, having the boldest, richest image with perfect clarity. The dot patterns, seen only under magnification, are completely intact on 99.9% of the card. The Sweet Caporal ad reverse is completely intact and no inpainting of text is evident under magnification. While we were not witness to the card's original state, we were informed that the card was in Very Good condition prior to restoration with significant corner wear and no creasing. Post-restoration assessments concur with this grading.

The tale of the Plank card still perplexes our hobby nearly 90 years after its issuance. Riding on the coattails of the famous Honus Wagner card since the beginning of the organized hobby, Jefferson Burdick didn't even know of Wagner's or Plank's existence in his first 1939 edition of the American Card Catalog (wherein he listed only 521 cards in the T206 set), forever solidifying a place of reverence for those cards among advanced collectors. No definitive explanation has ever surfaced to explain its rarity. Some attribute it to the same reasoning behind Wagner's scarcity, an aversion to tobacco use, but this is as unlikely for Plank as it was for Wagner. Did Plank follow suit with Wagner and demand payment for the use of his image by the tobacco companies? Possibly, but doubtful. Did the printing plate break? Not very likely. The absence of Plank's card is most evident in sophisticated hobby circles and few high grade examples have been seen. Coupled with the fact that the T206 "Monster" set of cigarette cards is one of the most desirable in the hobby, the scarcity of Plank only adds to collectors' frustration and fuels the fires of its value.

While the value of the offered, restored version of Plank pales in comparison to an unaltered copy in similar condition, an unrestored card in NM to NM/MT condition could well exceed the $300,000 mark. This Eddie Plank card is absolutely exceptional and affords the collector the opportunity to add a spectacular "looking" key piece to his or her T206 set at a fraction of the typical cost. The minimum bid reflects only a fraction of the value prior to restoration and does not account for the immense expense in man hours incurred for the finest professional restoration humanly possible. In purely visual terms, this restored Plank card stands as one of the best in the hobby!

Disclosure: It must be clarified that, although its restoration has been performed at a very meticulous, painstaking level, under no circumstances would a qualified grading service or knowledgeable collector ever deem this card to be anything but a restored example. In no way does our description intend to imply that this collectible should be regarded as anything but a beautifully "altered" card.

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium: $21,330

This same card sold for $18,800 two months later in Robert Edward Auctions on May 1, 2010.

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