T206 Mathewson Dark Cap vs. White Cap — Pick Your Poison
These two Christy Mathewson tobacco cards may be similar but they’re hardly the same
Like many players found in the T206 set, Christy Mathewson has more than one card. Matty has three, including two action poses and a portrait shot.
The two action poses are barely ‘actions’ at all. Each shows him with his glove up and the picture is a pretty common one of Mathewson found in other sets as well. While the two are similar they aren’t exactly the same.
For one thing, it’s clear the artwork for these cards was done by different artists. The renditions show the same pose and were certainly drawn from the same original image, but the actual depiction is different on each.
These two cards identified as the white/light cap and dark cap variations. There are also some slight differences to the uniform with the NY logo on his sleeve appearing on the dark cap version.
Now, I have heard some collectors state that they prefer the artwork of the Mathewson with the white cap. Those are sick individuals. It’s not a terrible picture but I hate this more pudgier version of Mathewson and if you look at the face, it’s just more of a cartoonish look. The picture on Mathewson on his dark cap card seems much more realistic, refined, and just more complete. But, hey, to each their own.
But while I think the dark cap card is much nicer, it’s the white cap that is much rarer.
Now, as T206 cards, neither is particularly rare. At any given time you can find plenty of each for sale. But the white cap is significantly tougher. To date, PSA has graded nearly 1,500 dark cap cards and only a little more than half that of the white cap version. Population reports can’t tell us everything but based on this one, there’s no doubt that there are more of the dark cap cards out there.
Despite that, though, you don’t see much premium attached to the white cap version. Both cards sell for roughly the same, starting at around $400-$500 in low-grade condition.