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T206 Christy Mathewson (White Cap) Proof sold for $84,000

Hertiage Auction (May 8, 2021)

1909-11 T206 (Proof) Christy Mathewson (White Cap) SGC Authentic - Unique. The baseball collecting hobby is nearly as old as the sport itself, with the first trading cards dating back as far as the American Civil War, but there was arguably no more consequential turning point in that century and a half as the release of the bold and essential American Tobacco Company creation that has come to be known as the T206 issue. With over five hundred distinct entries distributed over the course of three years, the set did far more to expand the reach of the hobby than any issue before or since, and it properly remains the standard by which all subsequent issues would be judged. As such, those scant few production pieces that spawned "The Monster" are today viewed with a reverence bordering on the divine, both for their peerless significance and their supreme rarity. In the representation presented here, the elite fame of the subject pictured elevates the offering into air so rarefied that the eventual assignment of a sale price through the auction process seems almost crass. For those who hold this most prominent pre-war issue in its proper reverence, the offering is priceless.

This is the original proof for the card that would come to be known as "Christy Mathewson, White Cap," remarkably the only known surviving T206 proof featuring an issued Hall of Fame subject. The appearance is nearly identical to the finished product, with a few important and intriguing deviations. Most instantly apparent is the absence of any printed text, and the presence of crosshatched lines at each border that were used to register the image. All known T206 proofs are both hand-cut and blank-backed, and this representation is no exception. Finally, we note that one exacting proofer demanded a greater fidelity to the uniform style of the 1910 New York Giants, adding extra stripes to the crown of Mathewson's cap for the final version, while only one appears here. Beyond the various marks and imperfect edges inherent to the proofing process, the card presents in remarkably fine condition, a technical EX+. It is encapsulated SGC Authentic. EX-Copeland Collection.

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium (20%): $84,000

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