Parallels Exist Between 1936 Goudey and T207 Baseball Card Sets

Despite being two different kinds of cards, the two sets share several similarities

The 1912 T207 and 1936 Goudey baseball card sets were printed two decades apart. But despite the fact that one is a tobacco set and the other a gum issue, the two sets have quite a bit in common.

For starters, both have unique looks compared to the other sets produced by the same companies. While disputed by some, the T207 set is believed by most to have been created by the American Tobacco Company. That was the same conglomerate that produced the more colorful T205 and T206 sets.

When you compare it with those, the difference is striking. The T205 and T206 cards are vibrant while the T207 set, by comparison, is rather dull. I’m a big fan of all three issues but there’s no denying that T207 is sort of on its own island compared to those.

1936 goudey lefty gomez

t207 morrie rath

The same case can be made for the 1936 Goudey set. Goudey produced baseball card issues in 1933, 1934, and 1935. All are colorful and included some great artwork. The 1936 is a lot different. It didn’t use art depictions and instead opted for black and white photos. The set sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the other Goudey sets and that’s probably the biggest reason.

But there’s more than just the types of artwork in the sets that links these two releases.

Another thing that is difficult to ignore is the fact that a lot of big names were missing from both set checklists. The T207 set is without the likes of Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Shoeless Joe Jackson, and numerous other stars. Meanwhile, the 1936 Goudey issue left out Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, and countless others. The set is not completely without stars, but it is noted more for the omissions than for the players included in it. Unfortunately, that is one thing that haunts both sets to this day.

Goudey’s omission of key players is a little more understandable as the set included a total of only 25 cards (contrasted to the 200 found in the T207 set). There simply wasn’t room for everybody. Further, DiMaggio was only a rookie in 1936. Still, not including the likes of Jimmie Foxx and Lou Gehrig, who had combined to win three Most Valuable Player awards prior to the 1936 season seems rather foolish. Gehrig’s omission in the set is particularly dumb as he would go on to win the Most Valuable Player award in 1936. The missing stars is one reason why the release is one of the easiest pre-war sets to assemble.

Yet another similarity is that both sets feature cards that can be found with numerous backs. The T207 cards have two different types of subsets, each with two backs. One subset has Recruit/Napoleon backs while the other has Broadleaf/Cycle backs. And on top of those, some cards can be found with anonymous backs and Red Cross backs. While that wasn’t uncommon as a tobacco set, it is uncommon for a gum set like Goudey. The 1936 Goudey cards were designed to be some sort of a game so the backs have game actions printed on them. Each card can be found with several different backs as a result.

In addition, both appear to have been printed in significantly smaller quantities than the sets that preceded them. We know that based on the pop reports for all of the sets. For example, while there are about 375,000 combined T205 and T206 cards that have been graded by the three major grading companies, only about 10,000 graded T207s exist. T207s are, by far, the rarest of the group. Similarly, PSA has graded more than 110,000 cards from the 1933 through 1936 Goudey issues but fewer than 2,000 of those (by far, the fewest of any one of those sets) are 1936 cards.

For whatever reason, the makers of these cards didn’t see fit to produce a large number of them — at least not in comparison to what they previously did with other sets. Part of the reason for that in the case of the Goudey set is that the company was printing a bunch of other premiums instead, such as their famous wide pen photographs. Still, the fact that they printed so few cards compared to their other years is noteworthy.

Finally, both are also viewed sort of as the redheaded stepchildren when it comes to other sets produced by their makers. Other sets from Goudey and the ATC are wildly different and that has led many collectors to shy away from these cards. T207 isn’t nearly as popular as T205 and T206, and the 1936 Goudey set falls well short for most when comparing it to the company’s first three releases.

One is a tobacco set and the other a gum issue but these are two sets that actually have plenty in common.

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