Rare Fourth Type of T213 Coupon Cards is Under the Radar
While three is commonly cited as the number of T213 types, a fourth with an overprint actually exists
The T213 Coupon sets are rare tobacco cards from the pre-war era. They utilize pictures found in other sets, including T206. In general, there are three different sets and the shared T206 images is one reason why some people believe the cards from the first type, T213-1, are actually T206 cards.
The T213 sets spanned several years. The first ones, classified today as T213-1, are believed to have been printed in 1910. T213-2 cards are from 1914-16, and T213-3 cards were issued in 1919.
But while there are three different T213 sets, there are really four different types of backs. That’s because a rare overprinted back is found on cards from the third set (T213-3).
T213-3 backs advertise the Coupon cigarettes as well as the price of ten cents for 16 of them. But a few rare backs have an overprint at the bottom, similar to what you find on some Sweet Caporal cards in the T206 set.
Shown here is a Ty Cobb card with this special overprint. This card was once owned by collector Leon Luckey.
As you’ll notice, this is the famous bat off version of a Ty Cobb card that is also seen in the T206 set. The back has the Coupon ad but also the thick black line at the bottom, which is what we call the overprint. And if you look close, you can see some small words printed between the phrase, ‘Collect Them’ and the overprint.
So what was the overprint for? Basically, it was to provide a change in where the cards were distributed from. Many tobacco cards included the factory number/location of where they were actually sent from. In this case, the overprinted cards covered up the old information where a card was distributed and then included the new location of where they were distributed.
In the case of these overprinted cards, the old location was Factory No. 3 in Louisiana and the new location was Factory No. 8 (also in Louisiana).
So what are the cards worth? That’s a bit difficult to say as they are so rarely seen for sale. But we do have some past auction sales to give us an idea.
REA sold a respectable looking SGC 3 for $840 in 2016. And that same Collins, as well as an SGC 4 Hal Chase sold for nearly $2,000 in a Goldin auction. A Miller Huggins SGC 5 sold for $1,500 last year in a Huggins & Scott auction. Graded 3s of stars/Hall of Famers seem to hover right around that $1,000 range. To me, that puts lower-grade commons starting around $250 or so.
If I had to guess, it looks like they don’t sell for considerably more than their counterparts without the overprint. Justifiably, some premium seems to be in place. But given the rarity, they would seem to be underpriced a little bit.
Still, too tough to nail down consistent pricing on them. While it is likely that all T213-3 cards were printed with an overprint, known ones have not been discovered for every T213-3 card out there. PSA has graded only three to date, per their population report and while I have seen some SGC graded and raw ones, that gives you an idea of the rarity.