The T201 Mecca Double Folders set is one of the more unique pre-war issues. They were one of the few double-sided card sets with a picture of a baseball player on each side. But what really made them different was a factory fold in the middle so that the cards intentionally folded.
If you’ve seen one of these cards in person, you know how they worked. But if not, here’s the deal. To demonstrate, we’ve got a card of Chief Bender and teammate Rube Oldring.
The fold was added because the players on both sides shared the same legs. They key was that the fold on the card was not exactly in the middle. Really, you’ve got three parts to each card.
Part one is one side of the card fully opened up. As you can see here, we’ve got Chief Bender on the inside of the card. Fully opened, it’s a complete picture of the Hall of Famer.
At first glance, the cards look slightly miscut or even trimmed if you open one up like the Bender is here. But the cards were actually intentionally cut that way as the bottom edges out just a bit.
The back of the card is more interesting. Next to the Bender image we’ve got the back of the card, which features an upper half of Oldring. The image is printed upside down and below that image, the cards have the Mecca Cigarettes name as well as some statistics for each player. These are actually some of the first cards that had statistics printed onto them.
The fold is situated as such so that the card folds inward towards the side of the card that has the full image (in this case, that’s the Bender side).
The top portion of the back folds down, revealing the top half of the player on the other side (here, it’s Oldring). The result is a new full image of that player as it folds down, utilizing the legs of the other player. Here’s how that looks.
As I said, these are some of the cooler pre-war issues out there. It’s a great starter set since, at 50 cards, it’s not massive. And while some of the cards are a little more expensive, the biggest one is the Ty Cobb/Sam Crawford card and in low-grade condition, you can get it for under $500. Many of the cards in the set in low-grade condition can be found for $20-$30.