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T206 Eddie Plank (No Background Color) with Piedmont back PSA-Auth sold for $232,736

Memory Lane Inc. (Sept 9, 2023)

Lot # 94: 1909-11 T206 Piedmont 150 Subjects/Factory 25 Eddie Plank Missing Ink Variation PSA Authentic - One of Only Five Known T206 Piedmont Planks!

Finishing a close second to the exalted T206 Wagner are its T206 Plank brethren, with both of these cardboard icons sharing the distinction of being the two most celebrated ATC tobacco cards. The illustrious legacy of the T206 Wagner correlates to his alleged disdain for promoting tobacco products to children, prompting him to discontinue the use of the exalted Wagner illustration on his T206 subject. At one time, there was strong conjecture that the minimal number of Eddie Plank examples was likewise linked to a similar contempt for his image being used to promote cigarettes. As time evolved, hobby conjecture ultimately frowned upon this theory as it relates to Eddie Plank since his image was utilized during the Sweet Caporal 350 Subject series.

Current speculation for the shortage of T206 Planks includes a possible broken printing plate during the 150 Series printing process; the potential for Plank to have eventually granted his permission to the ATC by late July 1909 to utilize his image for the 350 Series due to re-negotiated compensation-related issues; or even a possible ATC victory relating to a power struggle for the tobacco company to share the rights to use Plank versus various candy E Card manufacturers. While full resolution may never be reached regarding the definitive reason for the shortage of T206 Planks, what we do know with 100% certainty is that obtaining one with a Piedmont Cigarettes 150 Subject ad back is a virtually insurmountable task. History suggests that in the late spring of 1909, the production of Piedmont 150 Subject sheets, including Plank and most likely Honus Wagner, ceased, with these cards never inserted into cigarette packs. Since a few of these sheets were already printed, a scant five Eddie Planks have surfaced with the Piedmont 150 advertisement, with four of them hand-cut from unused scrapper sheets, though a single SGC 5 EX Piedmont Plank exists that was allegedly not hand-cut from a sheet.

Arguably speaking, presented here just happens to be the most extraordinary T206 card on the planet, one of the five existing T206 Piedmont Planks depicting a unique Missing Ink obverse background! That notion is decisively accurate because, inexplicably, the revered Eddie Plank portrait image is set against a clear white background as opposed to the typical blue background evident on nearly every other existing T206 Plank. Miraculous to say the least, this T206 Plank anomaly shares the unparalleled distinction with a single other copy of carrying an ultra-rare Piedmont Cigarettes ad back, coupled with the lack of any blue ink beneath Plank's hallowed image. The only other Missing Blue Ink Plank portrays a pale yellow background, not the obvious clear white colorless setting affixed to this eye pleasing marvel. This landmark rarity was manually cut from an original T206 scraper sheet that was removed from production before the machine cutting process. The extraordinary Piedmont Cigarette - Missing Ink combination boggles the mind, with this dynamic duo nearly unprecedented for any existing T206 Plank specimen. Although a single numerically graded T206 Piedmont Eddie Plank does exist, an SGC 5, many hobby purists would agree that this astonishing, eye-pleasing Piedmont Plank anomaly just might suffice as the most remarkable of all T206 Eddie Plank subjects.

The lack of T206 Eddie Plank cards with Piedmont 150 Subject ad backs is linked to the widely recognized assumption that the Piedmont 150 sheets carrying Plank's hallowed image were pulled from production and never issued in packs. With regard to the missing blue ink, the most likely scenario is that the original sheet was pulled from production before the background ink was added, resulting in a progressive proof scenario seen with other distinguished issues such as several 1933 Goudey Ruths. Or was there a possible malfunction in the factory printing process whereby no blue ink was added to this magnificent rarity? T206 purists are certainly familiar with ink-related anomalies linked to other T206 cards, including other Missing Ink subjects as well as several ad-back ink variations (e.g., Brown Old Mill; Brown Lenox). No one would argue that some of the more renowned T206 subjects depicting these ink variations carry significant weight in the hobby, at times fetching immense pricing points, including a T206 common subject with a Brown Lenox ad back that has realized $30K. If common scarcities are fetching excessive five-plus figures, we cannot even begin to estimate the potential worth of this truly uncharted Piedmont Plank Missing Ink icon.

The steady rise of T206 pricing is strongly evident for the majestic Plank subject, even at the Authentic grade level. In 2022, three separate sales for Authentic T206 Sweet Caporal Plank subjects exceeded the six-figure mark, with the average of those three pricing points besting previous Plank Authentic subjects sold some 12 years ago in the $19K-$23K range by a staggering 462%! The attached chart lists this incredible pricing surge that is evident for the standard T206 Plank Sweet Caporal issue. The last time this amazing one-of-a-kind Piedmont Plank was publicly sold was nearly eleven years ago, fetching $93K or nearly five times the amount versus the prices of the standard Sweet Caporal Authentic Planks at that same period. Furthermore, another one of the five Authentic T206 Piedmont Planks with a standard blue background sold for $112K back in 2009, additional justification for the pricing superiority of any of the five known Piedmont Planks versus their more common Sweet Caporal brethren. While no one can say with 100% certainty what a card will sell for exactly, it's reasonable to assume that the projected value of this extraordinary Piedmont Plank offering should be, minimally, four to five times its previous $93k sale, based on the Authentic T206 Plank pricing history.

Interestingly enough, Authentic examples of the "Holy Grail" T206 Wagner have likewise experienced immense pricing upticks. Some 10-12 years ago, Authentic Wagners were fetching roughly $200K, with these same cards now selling in the $1M-$2.5M range, a staggering 400%-1,150% increase. The floodgates have surely opened regarding the rising values for the T206 Monster Set's two iconic subjects, and there seems to be no end in sight for this spiraling uptick.

The Authentic technical assessment is rendered virtually irrelevant since, other than the sole SGC 5 numerically graded copy, the remaining four Piedmont Planks were unquestionably cut from factory-issued scrapper sheets and likewise carry Authentic grades. The illustration is brilliant with its bright facial hues, crystal-clear quality, and relatively clean white background. This offering was obviously removed from the sheet with the utmost precision, resulting in a near-perfect perimeter and fine centering. Three of the four corners still exhibit square formations, with some diminutive wear evident on the upper right corner. The peripheral surface abrasion evident along the mid-right border does not impede the spectacular visual appeal, and no obtrusive surface blemishes are evident on either side. Rounding out the outstanding aesthetics is a near-flawless, bold blue ad back reflecting the rare Piedmont 150 Subjects typography, with only a microscopic stain situated above the "P" in Piedmont.

Most collectors would agree that this world-class offering's technical assessment needs to take a back seat to the card's sheer existence. If the T206 Honus Wagner is our illustrious hobby's "Holy Grail", then this Missing Ink Piedmont 150 Subjects T206 Eddie Plank must be classified as the Mona Lisa. Its combined Piedmont 150 Subjects verso and one-of-a-kind colorless background place it as one of the rarest and most highly coveted baseball cards extant. Indeed, of the four known Authentic T206 Piedmont Planks cut from a scrapper sheet, imagine owning an aesthetically pleasing example that incredibly excludes its blue hue originally intended to encompass Plank's revered pose. Through its virtually unique cardboard status, this iconic offering redefines T206 rarity to another level. Considering the lofty pricing upticks for Authentic T206 Sweet Caporal Planks over the past decade, thoroughly outlined in the enclosed chart, we will let the hobby's most sophisticated tobacco enthusiasts ultimately decide this Missing Ink Piedmont Plank's true worth!

Final Bid with Buyer's Premium (20%): $232,736


Periodical - T206 Eddie Plank (No Background Color) with Piedmont back SGC-Auth sold for $92,762

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