T205 Gold Border Set A Masterpiece

‘It’s In The Details’

Title T205 Gold Border
Year 1911
Size 1 7/16″ x 2 5/8″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set
208 (221 for recognized master set) (232 with known errors but likely more)

T205 Gold Border Overview

T205 JossWhile the T206 set is a fantastic issue in its own right and the most popular pre-war card set, the T205 gold border set is also a true masterpiece. And as I wrote here, its investment potential may be even higher than the T206 release.

208 cards plus errors make up this incredible issue. 221 cards are generally considered good enough for a master set even as other new variances have been discovered. Note that ‘master’ set in the terms of this page indicates the number of different cards, not including all of the back variations. If you consider all of the back variations for each card, there are, of course, many more cards

Interestingly enough, backs of the cards indicate there is a total of 400 designs in the series. Some collectors believe this indicates that other non-sports cards with gold borders were intended to be in the same set. Others believe that, as was the case in many other sets, the expected production of additional cards simply did not take place.

While you might think the T205 set precedes the T206 set because of the numbering, that isn’t the case. The T205s were actually printed just after the T206s. While still a fairly large set with 200+ cards, it wasn’t nearly as large as the massive 524-card T206 issue. And even though some big name players like Hall of Famers Roger Bresnahan and Eddie Collins have more than one card, this is nothing like the T206 set where you have dozens of guys with two, three, four, or even (in the case of Hal Chase) five cards. That, along with no insanely expensive cards, makes it much more realistic to complete.

The set is not without big names, though. Leading the way in the impressive release is Ty Cobb, Addie Joss, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson. The Joss card, in particular, was extremely important. He died prior to the set’s production and his card is a tribute card that is highly desirable. In addition to those big names, there are a number of short prints that are difficult finds. Those short prints make completing the set a reasonable challenge. Most can be found but are not always readily available.

The set is one of the most artistic releases of the pre-war era. The gold borders, which have often faded over time, have helped keep the number of high-grade examples down. National League cards and American League cards are distinctly different. The National League cards are portraits of players with replica signatures. American League cards are portraits, too, but are smaller and the faces are inside of a baseball diamond. In addition to those, a total of 12 minor league cards are also included. While many are common players, those usually sell for a premium over standard major league commons.

Backs of the cards include biographies and statistical information, which was a bit unique for trading cards to that point. It is one of the earliest sets to have both of those on the backs. It is often called the earliest but other sets may be able to stake that claim, too. For example, some of the T212 Obak cards printed from 1909-11 also have those components. Several of the biographies include some interesting facts.

Errors Vs. Variations

Dougherty T205 White SockDougherty T205 Red SockOne thing of importance is that the set includes both variations and errors. That distinction is important to make because while often lumped together, they do not mean the same thing. These are often all referred to as variations by collectors but that is not really accurate.

Variations are players (i.e. Barger) that have more than one card utilizing different poses. Errors are simply those cards with various mistakes in them. One of the more popular ones, for example, is for player Pat Moran as the back of some of his cards include a stray line of random text. Variations are required for the basic 208-card set. The additional error cards (listed at the bottom here) are needed for the 221-card master set.

The easiest way to keep these separate is to note those cards which were intended to be actual, different cards, and others that simply included mistakes. The actual new cards were variations while the mistakes are errors.

More Unreported T205 Errors and Variations

Titus T205 FrontIt should be noted that while 221 cards comprise a recognized master set, there are in fact several more errors. More print errors/variations continue to pop up to this day and more will almost certainly be added.

One was mentioned in 2012 that has Eddie Collins with a yellow elephant instead of a white one. Shortly before that, three variations of a Dots Miller card were found (with a middle initial of B., middle initial of D., and a middle initial of what looks to be a combination of a D. and a B. Others include a Doc White without quotation marks as well as blue and black variations of George Graham’s signature.

Finally some cards have been known to contain pink hue variations, including one of Hall of Famer Ed Walsh. I have only added the Walsh here because that has been confirmed by various collectors. However, others likely exist.

Finally, it should be noted that some of the errors can only be found with certain backs. The Mathewson ‘1 Loss’ error, for example, is only on Cycle backs. The aforementioned White ‘no quotes’ error is only on Polar Bear backs.

Here’s a look at all of the known errors at the time of this publishing.

T205 Gold Border Checklist

Here is the complete checklist (recognized variations/errors to complete a master set at the bottom):

    1. Ed Abbaticchio
    2. Doc Adkins
    3. Leon Ames
    4. James Archer
    5. Jimmy Austin
    6. Bill Bailey
    7. Home Run Baker
    8. Neal Ball
    9. E.B. Barger (Full ‘B’ on cap)
    10. E.B. Barger (Partial ‘B’ on cap)
    11. Jack Barry
    12. Emil Batch
    13. John Bates
    14. Fred Beck
    15. Beals Becker
    16. George Bell
    17. Chief Bender
    18. Bill Bergen
    19. Bob Bescher
    20. Joe Birmingham
    21. Lena Blackburne
    22. Bill Bransfield
    23. Roger Bresnahan (mouth closed)
    24. Roger Bresnahan (mouth open)
    25. Al Bridwell
    26. Mordecai Brown
    27. Bob Byrne
    28. Hick Cady
    29. Howie Camnitz
    30. Bill Carrigan
    31. Frank Chance
    32. Hal Chase (frame stops at shoulders)
    33. Hal Chase (only left ear)
    34. Eddie Cicotte
    35. Fred Clarke
    36. Ty Cobb
    37. Eddie Collins (mouth closed)
    38. Eddie Collins (mouth open)
    39. Jimmy Collins
    40. Frank Corridon
    41. Otis Crandall
    42. Lou Criger
    43. Bill Dahlen
    44. Jake Daubert
    45. Jim Delehanty
    46. Art Devlin
    47. Josh Devore
    48. W.R. Dickson
    49. Jiggs Donahue
    50. Red Dooin
    51. Mike Doolan
    52. Patsy Dougherty
    53. Tom Downey
    54. Larry Doyle
    55. Hugh Duffy
    56. Jack Dunn
    57. Jimmy Dygert
    58. Dick Egan
    59. Kid Elberfeld
    60. Clyde Engle
    61. Louis Evans
    62. Johnny Evers
    63. Bob Ewing
    64. G.C. Ferguson
    65. Ray Fisher
    66. Art Fletcher
    67. Johnny Flynn
    68. Russ Ford (black cap)
    69. Russ Ford (white cap)
    70. Bill Foxen
    71. Jimmy Frick
    72. Art Fromme
    73. Earl Gardner
    74. Harry Gaspar
    75. George Gibson
    76. Wilbur Goode
    77. George Graham (Cubs)
    78. George Graham (Rustlers0
    79. Ed Grant
    80. Dolly Gray (no stats)
    81. Clark Griffith
    82. Bob Groom
    83. Charlie Hanford
    84. Bob Harmon (both ears)
    85. Bob Harmon (one ear)
    86. Topsy Hartsel
    87. Arnold Hauser
    88. Charlie Hemphill
    89. C.L. Herzog
    90. Dick Hoblitzell (with 1908 Cin, correct name spelling)
    91. Danny Hoffman (white base)
    92. Miller Huggins
    93. John Hummel
    94. Fred Jacklitsch
    95. Hughie Jennings
    96. Walter Johnson
    97. Davy Jones
    98. Tom Jones
    99. Addie Joss
    100. Ed Karger
    101. Ed Killian
    102. Red Kleinow
    103. Johnny Kling
    104. Jack Knight
    105. Ed Konetchy
    106. Harry Krause
    107. Floyd Kroh
    108. Frank Lang
    109. Frank LaPorte
    110. A. Latham (A. on back)
    111. Tom Leach
    112. Atty Lee
    113. Sam Leever
    114. Lefty Leifield (with A. in signature)
    115. Ed Lennox
    116. Paddy Livingston
    117. John Lobert
    118. Bris Lord
    119. Harry Lord
    120. John Lush
    121. Nick Maddox
    122. Sherry Magee
    123. Rube Marquard
    124. Christy Mathewson
    125. A.A. Mattern
    126. Sport McAllister
    127. George McBride
    128. Amby McConnell
    129. P.L. McElveen
    130. John McGraw
    131. Harry McIntyre
    132. Matty McIntyre
    133. John McLean
    134. Fred Merkle
    135. George Merritt
    136. J.T. Meyers
    137. Clyde Milan
    138. John Miller (Middle initial ‘B.’)
    139. Mike Mitchell
    140. Pat Moran
    141. George Moriarty
    142. George Mullin
    143. Danny Murphy
    144. Jack Murray
    145. John Nee
    146. Tom Needham
    147. Rebel Oakes
    148. Rube Oldring
    149. Charley O’Leary
    150. Fred Olmstead
    151. Orval Overall
    152. Fred Parent
    153. George Paskert
    154. Billy Payne
    155. Barney Pelty
    156. John Pfiester
    157. Jimmy Phelan
    158. E.J. Phelps
    159. C. Phillippe
    160. Jack Quinn
    161. A. Raymond
    162. Ed Reulbach
    163. Lewis Richie
    164. John Rowan
    165. George Rucker
    166. W.D. Scanlon
    167. Germany Schaefer
    168. George Schlei
    169. Boss Schmidt
    170. F.M. Schulte
    171. Jim Scott
    172. B.H. Sharpe
    173. David Shean (Cubs)
    174. David Shean (Rustlers)
    175. James Sheckard
    176. Hack Simmons
    177. Tony Smith
    178. Fred Snodgrass
    179. Tris Speaker
    180. Jake Stahl
    181. Oscar Stanage
    182. Harry Steinfeldt
    183. George Stone
    184. George Stovall
    185. Gabby Street
    186. George Suggs
    187. Ed Summers
    188. Jeff Sweeney
    189. Lee Tannehill
    190. Ira Thomas
    191. Joe Tinker
    192. John Titus
    193. Terry Turner
    194. James Vaughn
    195. Heinie Wagner
    196. Bobby Wallace (cap)
    197. Bobby Wallace (no cap)
    198. Ed Walsh
    199. Zack Wheat
    200. Doc White
    201. Kirb White
    202. Irwin Wilhelm ‘suffeed’
    203. Ed Willett
    204. Owen Wilson
    205. George Wiltse (both ears)
    206. George Wiltse (one ear)
    207. Harry Wolter
    208. Cy Young

Errors for recognized 221-card master set

209. Hal Chase (frame stops)
210. Otis Crandall (‘T’ uncrossed)
211. Patsy Dougherty (red sock)
212. Dolly Gray (with stats)
213. Dick Hoblitzell (1908 No. Cin.)
214. Dick Hoblitzell (name misspelled)
215. Dick Hoblitzell (no stats)
216. A. Latham (W.A. on back)
217. A. Leifield (A.P. in signature)
218. Christy Mathewson (one loss Cycle back)
219. Pat Moran (stray line of text)
220. Bobby Wallace (one 1910 stat line)
221. Irwin Wilhelm (‘suffered’)

Additional Documented Errors

222. Eddie Collins (yellow elephant)
223. George Graham (black signature)
224. Danny Hoffman (yellow base, no stripe)
225. Danny Hoffman (yellow base with stripe)
226. A. Latham (.A. on back with a faint M before it)
227. Dots Miller (middle initial ‘D.’)
228. Dots Miller (middle initial combination of ‘B.’ and ‘D.’)
229. Fred Snodgrass (missing decimal point)
230. John Titus (stray print mark on Piedmont Factory 25 cards)
231. Ed Walsh (pink printing)
232. Doc White (no quotes)

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