T207 Brown Background Set

‘It’s In The Details’

Title T207 Brown Background
Year 1912
Size 1 7/16″ x 2 5/8″
Images Color
Type Tobacco
Number in Set
207 (206 including error variations)

T207 Brown Background Overview

Marsans T207Frank Chance T207While the American Tobacco Company’s (ATC) earlier releases, the T205 set and the T206 set are much more popular with collectors, their final issue is much tougher to find.

The T207 Brown Background set is recognized as one of the more difficult tobacco card issues to assemble. It’s not only somewhat large at 208 cards, but many of the cards are very tough to find in any condition. It is easily much rarer than the T205 or T206 sets.

The set lacks the bright colors from the ATC’s first two sets – the T205 and T206 issues. It also lacks a lot of the big names. While Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young, and Christy Mathewson, help anchor both of those sets, they’re missing here. Also MIA are greats such as Honus Wagner and Joe Jackson. So are other big names that appeared in both of those other two issues – Hall of Famers like Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, Mordecai Brown, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Hugh Duffy, Johnny Evers, Clark Griffith, Hughie Jennings, Addie Joss, and Ed Walsh.

Why all of those players were left out after being included in the first two sets is a mystery. But while there are a lot of big names missing, there were also some players included that were new to the ATC sets, including Max Carey, Buck Weaver, Smoky Joe Wood.

The biggest difference in the set compared to the T205 and T206 sets is arguably the design. While those were colorful, descriptive lithographs of players, this set is much more grim in appearance. It gets its nickname, the Brown Background set, for its chocolate brown backdrops. Some color was used for the imagery but not much. Aside from some color in the skin tones, the images are mostly printed with only brown and black ink. Splotches of color appear in some uniform logos and in uniforms but the cards are mostly dark in appearance.

That, of course, doesn’t appeal to many collectors, who prefer the brighter (and, frankly, better) artwork in the T205 and T206 set. But it is a unique issue and it can even be argued that the contrast is somewhat welcomed since it went against how other card sets of the same era were designed.

Removing the ‘Big Four’ cards from the T206 set, the T207 issue is the most difficult to assemble of the three ATC releases. In addition to the many cards with the tougher Broadleaf/Cycle backs, several tough commons with Recruit backs exist as well. A solid 75 or so cards from the set are just not that easy to find. You will see them for sale, but they are not nearly as plentiful as others in the T205 and T206 sets.

T207 Back Confusion

T207 Cycle BackT207 Broadleaf BackIn addition, the real allure to the set is the number of tough backs. That’s because brands that made only certain cards were very limited. Cards in the set were generally printed with either one of two sets of backs. One set included either Recruit or Napoleon backs while the other included Broadleaf or Cycle backs. The Recruit backs are easily the most common.

Some cards in both sets have anonymous backs with no advertising label and a few have recently been discovered with ultra rare Red Cross backs. But the thing to remember is that aside from the anonymous or Red Cross backs, cards in the two sets of backs (Recruit/Napoleon and Broadleaf/Cycle) don’t mix. For example – you won’t find a card with a Broadleaf back and a Recruit back.

Anonymous backs can be found for players in either of the two aforementioned groups (Recruit/Napoleon and Broadleaf/Cycle) while the Red Cross ones are only known with Broadleaf/Cycle subjects.

The Broadleaf/Cycle cards are much more scarce than the Recruit/Napoleon cards. And the bad news for set collectors is that there are around 50 of the former to find. And several of those, including Irving Lewis, Vic Saier, Ward Miller, and Louis Lowdermilk are very difficult to find. Some money can be saved by purchasing Anonymous backs for those cards as they are generally less expensive. However, finding them with any of the three backs is not an easy task.


Austin T207 with STLAustin T207A set can be considered complete at 200 cards. There are seven known and accepted variants but they are not new poses or new cards, really. Some collectors may determine they are needed for a ‘complete’ set, but others will not.

All variations, with the exception of a trio of cards for Paddy Livingston, can be seen as print errors of a sort. Even the Livingston cards do not have new poses – only a difference in the jersey emblem to fix a mistake. One of his cards (almost certainly, his first one) has an ‘A’ for the Philadelphia Athletics, his 1911 team. However, his other cards have a ‘C’ for his correct team in 1912, Cleveland.

Some of the variations appear to have been printed in equal quantities, making one card no more or less valuable than the other. Others, however, are significantly rarer. The highest profile variation is that of Irving Lewis, a little-known player. Both of his cards are rare but the version missing an emblem on his sleeve is much tougher to find.

You can read more about the variations in the set here.

T207 Brown Ink Backs

One rarity of the T207 set not known by all collectors is that some cards are found with brown-ink backs.

The text on standard T207 card backs is printed in black ink or, in the case of only Cycle, with red ink. However, similar to the brown-backed Broadleaf cards in the T206 set, some T207s can be found with printing in brown ink.

These cards are extremely rare. Collectors looking to purchase one should be wary that the back is simply not a faded black-ink card that looks brown. True brown ink backs are easy to distinguish between black ones when placed next to each other.

Harry Davis Variation

In addition to the 200 cards in the set, there are some variations for master set collectors. Currently, there are six unquestioned variations, as identified in the checklist at the bottom of this page. However, a few questionable ones exist.

Harry Davis, for example, is sometimes identified as having three variations for the lettering on his cap. Proponents of this variation state that he has cards with the ‘C’ on his cap in blue, brown, and white.

For what it’s worth, PSA has recognized these versions and has labeled its flips accordingly, noting the variation. However, to most collectors, the variation appears to be more of a case of certain ink colors running out or fading than a true variation. The Ray Fisher card, for example, has a very clear variation with him featured in a white cap and also a blue cap. Both colors are distinctive and easy to see the difference. The Davis variation, meanwhile, has only modest differences.

For that reason, I have not recognized this variation in the checklist below.

T207 Carrigan/Wagner Error Nonsense

Collectors should note that while there are 208 cards recognized in most master set checklists, that isn’t really accurate. Carrigan is known with both a correct back with his bio and also with an incorrect back featuring the bio of Heinie Wagner. Similarly, Wagner’s card is known with both a correct back and a Carrigan back.

However, other cards in the set have been found with incorrect backs, too. Despite that, only the Carrigan/Wagner back errors have been recognized in most checklists.

The Carrigan/Wagner cards have long since been listed in checklists but it is more of an anomaly than an actual variation because others can be found with different backs. Thus, the total master set checklist should sit at 206 cards and that is what I’ve listed here.

Jack Barry Horizontal Pose

BarryThe set includes 200 cards (minus errors/variations) and all are vertical pictures save for one. Jack Barry’s card is a unique horizontal pose that is different and stands out a little bit.

In the picture, Barry is seen making a play on a ball as part of the Athletics’ legendary $100,000 infield, along with Stuffy McInnis, Home Run Baker, and Eddie Collins. Baker and Collins were both Hall of Famers but not found in this set.

Here’s more on this unique card.

T207 Brown Background Checklist

Below is the full checklist of the 200 cards with variations noted. With all of the error variations, there are a total of 207 cards.

The tougher Broadleaf/Cycle cards are denoted below in italics/bold.

    1. Bert Adams
    2. Eddie Ainsworth
    3. Rafael Almeida
    4. Jimmy Austin (no ‘StL on shirt)
    5. Neal Ball
    6. Cy Barger
    7. Jack Barry
    8. Paddy Bauman
    9. Beals Becker
    10. Chief Bender
    11. Joe Benz
    12. Bob Bescher
    13. Joe Birmingham
    14. Lena Blackburne
    15. Fred Blanding
    16. Bruno Block
    17. Ping Bodie
    18. Hugh Bradley
    19. Roger Bresnahan
    20. Jack Bushelman
    21. Hank Butcher
    22. Bobby Byrne
    23. Nixey Callahan
    24. Howie Camnitz
    25. Max Carey
    26. Bill Carrigan
    27. Geoge Chalmers
    28. Frank Chance
    29. Eddie Cicotte
    30. Tommy Clarke (no emblem on sleeve)
    31. King Cole
    32. John Collins
    33. Bob Coulson
    34. Tex Covington
    35. Doc Crandall
    36. Bill Cunningham
    37. Dave Danforth
    38. Bert Daniels
    39. Jake Daubert
    40. Harry Davis
    41. Jim Delehanty
    42. Claude Derrick
    43. Art Devlin
    44. Josh Devore
    45. Mike Donlin
    46. Ed Donnelly
    47. Red Dooin
    48. Tom Downey
    49. Larry Doyle
    50. Dellos Drake
    51. Ted Easterley
    52. Rube Ellis
    53. Clyde Engle
    54. Tex Irwin
    55. Steve Evans
    56. Jack Ferry
    57. Ray Fisher (white cap)
    58. Art Fletcher
    59. Jack Fournier
    60. Art Fromme
    61. Del Gainor
    62. Larry Gardner
    63. Lefty George
    64. Roy Golden
    65. Hank Gowdy
    66. Peaches Graham
    67. Jack Graney
    68. Vean Gregg
    69. Casey Hageman
    70. Sea Lion Hall
    71. Ed Hallinan
    72. Earl Hamilton
    73. Bob Harmon
    74. Grover Hartley
    75. Olaf Henriksen
    76. John Henry
    77. Buck Herzog
    78. Bob Higgins
    79. Red Hoff
    80. Willie Hogan
    81. Harry Hooper
    82. Ben Houser
    83. Ham Hyatt
    84. Walter Johnson
    85. George Kaler
    86. Billy Kelly
    87. Jay Kirke
    88. Johnny Kling
    89. Otto Knabe
    90. Elmer Knetzer
    91. Ed Konetchy
    92. Harry Krause
    93. Walt Kuhn
    94. Joe Kutina
    95. Frank Lange
    96. Jack Lapp
    97. Arlie Latham
    98. Tommy Leach
    99. Lefty Leifield
    100. Ed Lennox
    101. Duffy Lewis
    102. Irving Lewis (no patch emblem on sleeve)
    103. Jack Lively
    104. Paddy Livingston (‘c’ on shirt)
    105. Bris Lord
    106. Harry Lord
    107. Louis Lowdermilk
    108. Rube Marquard
    109. Armando Marsans
    110. George McBride
    111. Alex McCarthy
    112. Ed McDonald
    113. John McGraw
    114. Harry McIntyre
    115. Matty McIntyre
    116. Bill McKechnie
    117. Larry McLean
    118. Clyde Milan
    119. Dots Miller
    120. Otto Miller
    121. Roy MIller
    122. Ward Miller
    123. Mike Mitchell
    124. Mike Mitchell (actually Willie)
    125. George Mogridge
    126. Earl Moore
    127. Pat Moran
    128. Cy Morgan
    129. Ray Morgan
    130. George Moriarty
    131. George Mullin (‘D’ on cap)
    132. Tom Needham
    133. Red Nelson
    134. Hub Northern
    135. Les Nunamaker
    136. Rebel Oakes
    137. Buck O’Brien
    138. Rube Oldring
    139. Ivy Olson
    140. Marty O’Toole
    141. Dode Paskert
    142. Barney Pelty
    143. Hub Perdue
    144. Rube Peters
    145. Art Phelan
    146. Jack Quinn
    147. Pat Ragan
    148. Arthur Rasmussen
    149. Morrie Rath
    150. Ed Reulbach
    151. Nap Rucker
    152. Bud Ryan
    153. Vic Saier
    154. Bill Scanlon
    155. German Schaefer
    156. Bill Schardt
    157. Frank Schulte
    158. Jim Scott
    159. Hank Severeid
    160. Mike Simon
    161. Frank Smith
    162. Wally Smith
    163. Fred Snodgrass
    164. Tris Speaker
    165. Harry Spratt
    166. Eddie Stack
    167. Oscar Stanage
    168. Bill Steele
    169. Harry Steinfeldt
    170. George Stovall
    171. Gabby Street
    172. Amos Strunk
    173. Billy Sullivan
    174. Bill Sweeney
    175. Lee Tannehill
    176. Claude Thomas
    177. Joe Tinker
    178. Bert Tooley
    179. Terry Turner
    180. Lefty Tyler
    181. Hippo Vaughn
    182. Heinie Wagner
    183. Tilly Walker
    184. Bobby Wallace
    185. Jack Warhop
    186. Buck Weaver
    187. Zack Wheat
    188. Doc White
    189. Dewey Wilie
    190. Bob Williams
    191. Art Wilson
    192. Owen Wilson
    193. Hooks Wiltse
    194. Ivy Wingo
    195. Harry Wolverton
    196. Smoky Joe Wood
    197. Gene Woodburn
    198. Ralph Works
    199. Steve Yerkes
    200. Rollie Zeider

Error/Variation Additions for Master Set

201. Jimmy Austin (with ‘StL’ on shirt)
202. Tom Clarke (with ‘C’ emblem on sleeve)
203. Ray Fisher (with dark cap)
204. Irving Lewis (with patch)
205. Paddy Livingston (“A” on shirt)
206. Paddy Livingston (Large “C” on shirt)
207. George Mullin (no “D” on cap)

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