T207 variations expand the master set checklist
The T207 brown background set is personally a favorite of mine. It’s not popular among some collectors because of the drab look but that’s actually what those of us that appreciate it enjoy about it. That, the hints of colors, and the dark chocolate brown backgrounds give it a wildly distinctive flavor, particularly given the time period when most other sets were using colorful lithographic images. It stands out like truly nothing else at that time and the cards are significantly rarer than the T205 and T206 sets.
The set has 200 cards but a few variations bump it up to 207. Many collectors that know little about the set probably are unfamiliar with these. But they are widely collected among T207 collectors.
It should be noted that a few others are commonly listed as variations. I’ll get to those at the end. However, those are not generally accepted as real variations and, I personally draw the line at 207 cards.
Here are the seven widely accepted variations. All of the variations have to do with a player’s uniform and are generally printing mistakes with the exception of the Livingston cards which are clearly three different cards.
Jimmy Austin, STL on Shirt
Jimmy Austin has two cards in the set. One has an STL insignia on his shirt for his St. Louis team while the other does not.
Both seem to have about the same level of rarity and a premium isn’t really paid for either. That certainly won’t stop sellers from asking more for either one (usually, the one they have) but neither one is drastically harder to find than the other, really.
Both are generally treated as commons. Of the group, the Austin variants seem to be the ones that collectors care the least about.
Tom Clarke, Emblem
Clarke’s is the variation known about the least. The variation was only first reported in 2015 in this Net54 thread.
Clarke has two different cards. One has part of a red ‘C’ on his sleeve while another does not. To date, PSA and SGC are not yet tracking the variation so it is tough to tell which, if either, is tougher to find. However, the version without the emblem seems to be far more difficult version.
Ray Fisher, Blue/White Cap
While Harry Davis’ purported cap variation is ignored by most collectors, there is no question that Ray Fisher has two different variants of his hat.
Fisher has both a card with a blue cap and a white cap. The blue cap variation is a deep blue and clearly different from the version that has the white. Like the Austin card missing the STL, it looks like his white cap card was printed without blue ink.
PSA’s population report notes that a few less of the white cap cards have been graded. But while there may be a slight difference in pricing, like the Austin error, it isn’t drastic. Both Fisher’s are usually priced as commons as well.
Irving Lewis, Patch
The Lewis card is easily the variation that gets the most recognition. It is one of the most expensive cards in the set, regardless of which one you have and was heavily shortprinted, like others in the Broadleaf/Cycle series.
Like the Austin issues, the Lewis cards vary based on the presence of an emblem patch. One of his cards has one on his sleeve and the other does not. The one without the patch is significantly harder to find but both are very tough cards.
Of note here is that the Lewis card without the emblem is not simply a case of a card missing red ink. That is clear because the ‘Boston’ on his jersey, in the same color of the emblem, is still printed.
These are usually four figure cards, though the missing emblem version is much more valuable.
George Mullin, Cap
George Mullin gives us a second cap variation. The former Detroit Tigers player has two cards in the set. One of Mullin’s cards has the Detroit ‘D’ on the cap while the other does not. The ‘D’ can be missed if only quickly glancing at the card as it is usually printed in a faint gray color. But if looking for it, you can easily see it present.
The version with the ‘D’ is a significantly tougher to find. But the ‘D’ version doesn’t usually command a ton of money.
Mullin was a key player for the Tigers, though, winning 20 games five times, including 1909 when he led the league with 29 victories. His cards, in this set and otherwise, are often a little more than those of a common.
Paddy Livingston Shirt Variations
Livingston is the only player here that has three cards instead of two. One of his cards has a smaller ‘C’ on his jersey while another has a larger one. A third has an ‘A’.
The ‘A’ card was likely a reference to him playing with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1911. But it was certainly a mistake as the cap on his head in that card has a ‘C’ for Cleveland, his new team in 1912.
The other two cards have the ‘C’ just in different sizes. The reason for the size variations of that letter is unknown. However, you can see traces of the ‘A’ underneath both cards and the ‘C’ was meant to fix that, obviously. One artist rendition may have been too small or too larger requiring the alteration. If I were forced to make a guess, I would say that the larger ‘C’ was the final version. More of the ‘A’ shows under the smaller ‘C’ card and I’m guessing the larger ‘C’ was done in an effort to cover more of it up.
The Large ‘C’ version is the most populous. The smaller ‘C’ card might be the toughest as PSA has graded only about half of those compared the ‘A’ card.
In addition to the variations mentioned, a few others have been pushed as set variations as well.
Bill Carrigan and Heine Wagner, for example, are listed in some sources as having error variations. A Carrigan card is known with a Wagner back and a Wagner card is known with a Carrigan back. How many of these exist is not known but other cards in the set have been seen with other similar wrong back variations. It wasn’t so much a true variation as it was a printing miscue – and many of those were made, as evidenced in cards missing certain ink, blank backs, etc.
Additionally, Harry Davis is sometimes cited as having three cards – one with a ‘C’ on his hat that is brown, another white, and a third blue. These variances, however, are minor and likely due more to ink levels not being appropriate during the printing process. While some may consider these as Davis variations, they do not appear to be.
Others will cite very minor differences in color on some cards. Those, however, should generally be dismissed as they are usually the result of variances in printing ink levels.