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T206 Joe Doyle N.Y. Nat'l PSA-3 sold for $414,750

Robert Edward Auctions (May 12, 2012)

Presented is only the second rare T206 Doyle, N. Y. Nat'l (hands-above-head pose) error card that we have ever offered. This card is The Real Deal! This is the legendary Joe Pelaez T206 Doyle example. Joe Pelaez (1931-2010) was one of the hobby’s most colorful and passionate collectors. His greatest prize without question was one of the very few authentic examples of the famous T206 “Slow Joe” Doyle, N.Y. Nat’l rarity. To Joe, the rare Doyle card, its discovery, understanding its great significance to the T206 set, and seeing con artists over the years trying to create fakes of this monumental T206 rarity, embodied all that was fascinating about the famous T206 set and vintage-card collecting. We could not agree more! Joe Pelaez's extremely successful efforts to expose fake T206 Doyle and Magie error cards produced by criminals practically single-handedly (with assists by hobby legends such as Lew Lipset, Larry Frisch, Mark Macrae, and Bob Lemke) helped to eliminate the problem, educate collectors about the short-lived scam, and no doubt saved many from losing small fortunes to fraud. Joe purchased this iconic card in Lew Lipset’s auction when it was offered in 1990 for the then “outrageous” sum of $19,000. At the time, it was the second-highest price ever paid for a baseball card at auction, trailing only the then-record $25,011 realized several years earlier for a T206 Wagner (also sold at auction by Lew Lipset).

The T206 Doyle error card is by far the rarest card in the entire T206 set. It is also a very significant card in the set, and one that cannot be dismissed or ignored in any true complete T206 checklist. It is more than ten times rarer than the T206 Honus Wagner. The rare T206 Doyle was unchecklisted and completely unknown until the 1970s, when Larry Fritsch, while sorting through thousands of T206s, discovered it. No one had ever noticed the card before. Fritsch kept his discovery as quiet as he could, but naturally drew attention to the card when for years he advertised extensively to purchase any and all T206 Joe Doyle hands-above-head cards in the hopes of finding additional examples.

For many years, Joe Pelaez, Charlie Conlon, and Larry Fritsch were the only collectors known to have this extreme T206 rarity. Over the past twenty years, several additional examples have allegedly been discovered, though the authenticity of some of the other known examples is highly questionable. To the best of our knowledge, only approximately seven authentic rare Doyle cards exist. We believe that only approximately three or four authentic rare T206 Doyle, NY Nat'l (hands above heads pose) cards have ever been graded by PSA or SGC combined, and that the offered example is one of the finest known of the few authentic examples of the legendary rare T206 Doyle error card.

What is the T206 Doyle error card and why should T206 collectors care?

At a glance, without thinking about what the card is and why it is rare, we could see a collector looking at the rare T206 Doyle and say, "OK, so the identification text at the bottom of the card reads "Doyle, NY Nat'l" as opposed to "Doyle, N. Y." Who cares? So a few letters were left off. So what?

But these letters did not just mysteriously "disappear" from the normally T206 Doyle cards. The "Nat'l" was intentionally removed from the plate by the printer, and furthermore, was done so to correct an error. An important fundamental point to understanding the nature and significance of the rare T206 Doyle is that the rarity of the NY Nat'l variety is due to the printer's REMOVAL of the "Nat'l" - not the adding of it. The image on the hand-above-head Doyle pose is Joe Doyle of the New York Americans. But when the card was first printed, Joe Doyle, as seen on the rare error card, was listed as with the New York Nationals. This was an error. And it was actually a pretty understandable error. This is because Larry Doyle played for the New York Nationals. The manufacturer of the T206 set got its Doyles mixed up. This is the cause of the rare Doyle error.

When the printer discovered very early in the print run that an error had been made, that the image on this card was Joe Doyle of the New York Americans (as opposed to Larry Doyle of the New York Nationals), rather than correcting the league designation on the card (changing it from "Nat'l" to "Amer."), the league designation was simply removed entirely from the printing plate. This was probably just easier to do than to change "Nat'l" to "Amer." So by REMOVING the "Nat'l" they corrected the misidentification of Joe Doyle (of the NY Americans) as Larry Doyle of the NY Nationals, because both Doyles were with New York teams (just with different New York teams). This was done very early in the print run. Thus almost all known Doyle hands-above-head pitching pose cards in the T206 set are identified with just "N.Y.," as the error cards identifying the league designation as "Nat'l" were corrected almost immediately. This is what explains the great rarity of the "NY Nat'l" variation.

For many years the great rarities of the T206 set were "Wagner, Plank, and Magie" and these three cards were universally referred to by T206 collectors as "The Big 3." Since the discovery of the rare "Doyle, N.Y. Nat'l," the term representing the extreme rarities of the T206 set has been renamed "The Big 4," and this phrase is commonly used to refer to the cards that are not expected to be included with a T206 set that is otherwise complete. The fame and value of the original "Big 3" is a testament both to their rarity and the unrivaled popularity of the T206 set. The Doyle, however, is actually in its own league in terms of rarity. It is a virtually impossible-to-obtain T206 rarity unlike any other. The only other rare T206 Doyle example we have ever had the privilege of offering was the famous Conlon example, which was offered and sold at REA in 2009 for $329,000. Since that time, the only other rare Doyle example to be offered anywhere was an "Authentic" example (one that did not receive a numerical grade) in 2010, which sold for $186,155. There have been no other sales.

Condition: This is an outstanding example with no creases. Graded VG 3 by PSA. Piedmont 350 back. Bright and clean, both front and back, with even corner wear (a little more wear on the upper left), and centered slightly to the right. It is an extremely rare opportunity for REA to offer and properly document the significance of the rare T206 Doyle, let alone one with such an extraordinary and significant collecting-world provenance. We hope we have done justice to one of card collecting's greatest and most elusive rarities, explaining the nature of the card, and properly recognizing its great significance as by far the rarest card in the famous T206 set.

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium: $414,750

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