T206 Freak Print Market to be Tested Yet Again with Rare Card in Auction

Heritage is preparing to auction one of the more unique T206 print error cards

Brown Old Mill T206 cards themselves are notable and sell for thousands of dollars. But ones with a rare overprint are utterly scarce. And one is them is headed to a Heritage Auction near you.

The T206 set is known for all sorts of things – the valuable Honus Wagner card, having 524 cards (depending on how you look at it), Hall of Famers, icons, rare backs, and a lot more. But the set is also known for all kinds of print errors.

Some of those are minor issues with printers obscuring letters like the Jeff Pfeffer ‘Chicaco’ card, I wrote about here. Others are a lot crazier looking with numerous images overlaid on one card like the ones shown here.

Some of the errors, like those latter ones, are so outlandish they certainly would not have been issued in packs of cigarettes as intended. Most of the strange ones are hand cut and were probably cut by the printers who kept some of them.

And some of the weirdest ones are just kind of unexplainable.

Some of the odder print freaks are some brown Old Mill cards with a Sweet Caporal overprint on them. Now, those cards are unique for a few reasons. First, brown Old Mill cards are rare in and of themselves. Almost all Old Mill cards are black but some of the Southern League cards were printed with brown ink (and, as an aside, at least two other Old Mill cards are even blue).

Greminger T206 Brown Overprint BackGreminger T206 Brown OverprintBut ones with the overprint, as mentioned, are very rare. And one is being auctioned by Heritage this summer.

The card in question is for Ed Greminger, a Southern Leaguer in the set. It has the advertised brown ink back advertisement and also the rare red line overprint.

What is that red line? Those were used for some Sweet Caporal backs. Those cards had the factory location on the back to tell where the cards were issued. But some backs had the overprint to cover up a previous factory location with a new factory location below the line.

When printed correctly, the line would have covered up the old factory location perfectly, displaying the new one beneath it. But this overprint is not only on the wrong type of card (Old Mill instead of Sweet Caporal) but also is not in the proper location. In summary, it’s one messed up card.

While such a card in other more modern sets would be little more than a footnote, on a pre-war card (more specifically, ones in the T206 set), these types of cards are highly desirable.

So what can this card sell for? Well, we’ve got somewhat of a decent benchmark since it has been auctioned before. REA had the card back in 2010 and it sold for an astounding $19,975. Heritage has an estimate on the card of $25,000 or more. Given that the last sale was about a decade ago, that sum could be entirely reasonable.

I’m particularly interested to see where this one lands as it will be a nice barometer for seeing where these sorts of freak print errors stand. All T206 cards have risen dramatically in value over the last ten years and we’ll get a chance to see if the market for some of the stranger errors is cooling or not.

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