1912 Miners Extra/Honest Champions Set (T227)
‘It’s In The Details’
|Title||T227 Miners Extra / Honest Long Cut Series of Champions
|Size||2 1/4″ x 3 3/8″
|Number in Set
T227 Miners Extra/Honest Long Cut Champions Overview
The 1912 T227 Miners Extra/Honest Series of Champions pre-war card set includes a total of 24 cards. Out of that group, there are four baseball players identified in the set.
The cards are slightly oversized compared to most tobacco issues in the era and more resemble today’s trading cards. While not quite 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall, these cards are only a little smaller than current releases.
Unlike some other tobacco cards, these were not distributed inside packages of cigarettes. Instead, they were included with packages of loose tobacco and, as a result, have been found with a lot of stains. As difficult as the cards are to find, they are even harder to locate in high-grade condition.
Fronts of the cards include a large color picture while backs have a sizable biography for the player/athlete in question as well as an advertisement for either Miners Extra or Honest Tobacco. The set is often referred to as the Miners Extra issue but cards have advertising backs for both Miners Extra and Honest Long Cut brands.
All four baseball players (Ty Cobb, Home Run Baker, Chief Bender, and Rube Marquard) are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Other than baseball, some of the other sports featured in the set include boxing, track and field, billiards, golf, wrestling, and swimming. The boxing subset, in particular, is quite desirable, featuring Jack Johnson and Abe Attell — the latter was involved in the 1919 World Series fix and is desired by baseball collectors. Boxing was quite a popular sport at the time this set was produced. That is evident in that there were five cards in the set for the sport as opposed to only four for baseball. Golf cards of the legendary Harold Hilton and Jack McDermott are also quite popular.
The cards are much rarer than many other tobacco issues and the prices reflect that. Even in low-grade condition, it is hard to find the baseball cards for much less than $300 or so. The Cobb, of course, is considerably more.
Two cards in the set are known to be extreme shortprints and neither athlete represented is a household name for most collectors.
Aviator C.P. Rodgers is one of those and the other is race car driver Bruce Brown. If their cards were been so rare, they would have undoubtedly been commons. But with only a handful of examples, they typically sell for thousands of dollars.
Exactly why their cards are so rare isn’t exactly known. Both athletes died in 1912, the year this set was produced. That has led some to believe that their cards were pulled from production after they passed away. However, Rodgers’ card actually cites his death on the back and it was clearly printed after he had passed away. So if the manufacturer really didn’t want to distribute cards of athletes that had died, they could have simply not distributed his card altogether.
The Unknown 25th Card
While 25 cards were advertised on the backs, to date, only 24 are known. That has remained a significant pre-war mystery over the years and will continue to be one if the last card is not discovered.
It’s possible that 25 cards were indeed printed but that we simply haven’t discovered the final card yet. Given we’re more than 100 years after production, the card would almost certainly be a shortprint.
It also is possible that the 25th card was never printed — either intentionally or unintentionally. Mistakes do happen and an intentional omission would not be far-fetched, either. In 1933, Goudey is believed by most to have intentionally not printed card No. 106. That, as you can imagine, led collectors on a wild goose chase buying product and looking for the unknown card. The company ultimately relented and produced a card No. 106 featuring retired Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie. Today, the Lajoie is one of the most famous pre-war baseball cards of all time.
Many collectors have speculated on a potential 25th card over the years, including this one. Here’s my list of potential candidates that would have been ideal:
- Honus Wagner – 1911 NL Batting Champion
- Jim Thorpe – All-Around Athlete that won gold in the 1912 Olympics
- Georges Vezina – Early star hockey player, leading the league in Goals Against Average in 1910-11 and 1911-12
- Frank Gotch – Wrestling Champion
- Anthony Wilding – Wimbledon Champion from 1910-13
T227 Miners Extra/Honest Long Cut Champions Checklist
- Abe Attell (Boxing)
- Home Run Baker (Baseball)
- Chief Bender (Baseball)
- Bruce Brown (Auto Racing)
- Ty Cobb (Baseball)
- Johnny Coulon (Boxing)
- Alfred de Oro (Billiards)
- Dixie IV (Boat Racing)
- Ess H.K. (Horse Racing)
- Budd Goodwin (Swimming)
- Harold Hilton (Golf)
- Willie Hoppe (Billiards)
- Jack Johnson (Boxing)
- Frank Klaus (Boxing)
- W.J. Kramer (Track and Field)
- Rube Marquard (Baseball)
- Jack McDermott (Golf)
- Matt McGrath (Track and Field)
- Ralph Mulford (Auto Racing)
- C.P. Rodgers (Aviator)
- Melvin Sheppard (Track and Field)
- Uhlan (Horse Racing)
- Ad. Wolgast (Boxing)
- C. Zbyszko (Wrestling)