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T206 Vic Willis Batting with Multiple-Strike Old Mill back sold for $7,110

Robert Edward Auctions (April 27, 2014)

Presented is one of the most unusual and fascinating T206s that we have ever offered! From the front it appears to be a standard example of Vic Willis (batting pose). When viewed from the back, however, it becomes immediately apparent that this is an extremely rare and unusual printing anomaly that can be appreciated as extraordinary at a glance. Parts of at least four different Old Mill advertising backs are visible as the card has been struck multiple times during the production process. The card, which is hand-cut, likely originates from a factory-run sheet that was not up to standard and was then used as scrap, possibly put through the presses again for the purpose of testing the inks or some other aspect of the printing process. Encapsulated by SGC as "Authentic" (due to the hand-cut), the front of the card displays extremely well with strong colors, a crisp image, even wear to the corners, and two light creases in the top and bottom right corners. The important reverse is boldly printed in black ink and is instantly recognized as a most extraordinary and unique printing error. Interestingly, our consignor is a longtime collector (of autographs, not cards) who has owned this card since 1985. However, it was only just recently that he discovered it was special. In his own words to REA:

"Looking forward to see how great this Rare "Quadruple" strike card looks inside one of your Famous Auction Catalogs and the write up you give it. I do believe that this card is the first Quad T206 to enter the Hobby. I do know that it's fresh and that I owned this card since 1984-1985. I just collected the T206 cards that I could afford at that time. I put them into a shoe box never realized that this Vic Willis Old Mill Back had this going on. This Old Mill card was the only Old Mill card in my collection so I assumed that the back was to look like this. Until I took it to SGC along with my 65 other T206 cards, which included 10 American Beauty backs and 54 Sweet Caporal T206 backs did I find out. Earl from SGC told me straight up, Mike "This card here is worth more then all that you have on this table." This was the first time I found out about this card's rare back. I have been collecting autographs in this great hobby of ours since 1984. I don't really collect cards. I only decided to buy some of these cards back then in my earliest days of collecting which I had truly forgotten about till August last year. I'm so glad that I found them at my mother's house where they have been kept since then. So, this is my story of how this card made it into the hobby and into your auction."

When it comes to the T206 set, which is the most highly collected of all vintage card sets, anything unusual (especially if it might in any way shed light on the mysteries of how the T206 set was printed) is of great note. As the story that accompanies this card illustrates, remarkable T206 printing errors can be hiding anywhere! (So check your T206 backs carefully!) This is undoubtedly one of the most noteworthy T206 printing errors that we have ever seen and we believe it will be of great interest to T206 scholars and collectors alike. The T206 set, affectionately known as "The Monster," is the most popular of all 1910-era sets and is still yielding new and exciting discoveries more than a century after its production. As collectors have become more sophisticated, there has been a growing appreciation for all great rarities and unusual cards associated with this landmark set. Value is always subjective, but especially in this case, because of its uniqueness, there is no consensus of value for this card. We are confident the auction process will provide clarity. Reserve $2,500. Estimate (open).

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium (18.5%): $7,110

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