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T206 Johnny Bates Proof SGC-Auth sold for $5,484

Goodwin & Co. (Aug 24, 2012)

Every so often a near impossible baseball card surfaces that defies logic, one so overwhelmingly rare that its sheer existence renders even the elite enthusiast virtually speechless. Presented here just happens to be a cardboard rarity that easily falls in the aforementioned class, a virtually unprecedented T206 Johnny Bates blank back "proof" in an SGC "Authentic" holder. Simply stated, this world-class card is one of only a handful of existing known T206 "proofs" for ANY subject, let alone the Boston Beaneaters outfielder Johnny Bates. There is a high level of ambiguity relating to the T206 proof card with no definite account on exactly how many were originally issued for each player and the basis for their existence. Theoretically, one would think that there should have been a single proof card for each existing T206 subject, but because of the meticulous combination of T206 tobacco brands, subjects and factory numbers that is not the case. One could argue that each factory issued a proof card for all of their listed players with another possible scenario citing the 150, 350 or 460 SUBJECT release dates as the basis for each original proof sheet. After consulting with many hobby experts the general consensus seems to point towards these cards being the rarest of all T206 subjects, with only a handful known to exist. The philosophy behind the proof sheet further supports its virtual unparalleled scarcity since manufacturers utilized cardboard proof sheets to ensure each specimen was error free before a card's final release date. It would then make sense that each of these sheets were immediately discarded once this stage in the production process was complete, with possibly a few spared copies eluding the rubbish due to factory workers making them their own. Not a single full "proof" sheet is known to exist with any surviving example(s) hand-cut into a handful of T206 single subjects. Similar to other baseball card proofs, the defining characteristic are the small crossed lines situated near the center of each border, with this Bates rarity likewise portraying the crossed line markings. Unquestionably, this card has been cut from its original proof sheet due to the several irregular edges that account for the SGC assigned grade. Atypically, in this case the technical assessment is rendered irrelevant as compared to the card's unique Johnny Bates proof existence, the critical factor in determining its unparalleled desirability. Fortunately, the card's remaining aesthetics are superb, especially the breathtaking Bates batting image depicting the finest crystal clear clarity and sparkling colored hues. Affixed to a seemingly near flawless blue, orange, purple and green tranquil setting, the overall central image projects strong "near mint+" aesthetics. Bright white borders include the previously mentioned black crossed line proof markings, the reverse side off-white blank back is relatively clean, and no obtrusive blemishes are evident on either side. This brilliant eye-pleasing specimen has been safely tucked away in a private collection for many years, and fortunately for one extremely lucky hobbyist, our consignor has now decided to part ways with what was one of his centerpiece attractions. This "one of a kind" Johnny Bates proof marvel easily supersedes the scarcity level of even the T206 Wagner and Doyle variation, arguably qualifying with the few other existing proof examples as the rarest T206 type specimen in the universe!

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium: $5,484

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