Four Things Missing from the Iconic T205 Set
While nearly perfect, the T205 set is missing a few things
The T205 set is one of the most collected pre-war sets of them all. The set has a lot going for it, including a large amount of key players and Hall of Famers, shortprints, and a really unique design.
A few things are missing from it that could have made it even better, though.
Additional Key Players
The T205 set has guys like Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Cy Young, Walter Johnson and more but still would have been helped by the addition of some other players.
I wrote about this a while back for Sports Collectors Daily, but the elephants in the room are Honus Wagner and Joe Jackson. Since Wagner’s T206 appearance was not approved and Jackson doesn’t appear in any of the other ATC (American Tobacco Company) sets, they may be relative pipe dreams.
But more attainable players would include a guy like Smoky Joe Wood, who actually did appear with the T205 design in the T202 Hassan Triple Folders set. Wood is one of only two players in that set that utilized the T205 designs that, for whatever reason, did not appear in T205. His T202 card is shown here.
Horizontal cards in other sets like T206 and the Obak series’ are among my favorite tobacco cards.
This is more of a personal preference thing but I’m a big fan of them. One or two horizontals in the T205 set would have really helped shake up a bit of monotony with the all vertical design.
To be fair, T205 does have its aesthetic differences throughout the set. Players in the National League got a different card layout than those in the American League. There are also the minor league cards, which have a different design altogether. But horizontal cards are found in both T206 and T207, the ATC’s other sets, and inserting one or two here would have been a great idea.
Those cards are even pursued a bit more than other commons. The Jack Barry T207 card (the only horizontal in that set), for example, sells for a premium over other T207 commons.
The T205 set is littered with all sorts of errors and because many corrections exist for them, that has made completing a master set very challenging.
Print ‘errors’ caused by ink level variances are one thing. But the T205 set has an abundance of typos and other errors that should have easily been caught. With the biographies and the number of statistics on the back, I have no doubt that some effort was made to limit errors. But quite a few of them still found their way into the print runs.
There are statistical errors, design errors, typographical errors and more. One card for Pat Moran famously has a line of stray text. Another for Dolly Gray has a missing biography. The set has errors for anything and everything.
For those that love error cards, it’s a delight. But if you’re a set collector and obsessed with having every version of every card, it’s a nightmare. Some of the errors/variations are not only difficult to track down but can be quite expensive, costing thousands of dollars.
While the set has a bunch of unintended errors, it also includes a significant amount of variations that were legitimately supposed to exist.
Collectors often lump the errors with the variations but they are really two different things. Errors were mistakes while the variations were not.
But even though there are a decent number of variations, the set surely could have used more — particularly for some of the bigger names. For example, I’ve got nothing against the perfectly fine Cy Barger and his 46-63 career record, but wouldn’t you rather have seen a variation for a player like Cobb? Or Mathewson, Johnson, or Young? All of those guys have only one card in the set.
While it would have made it a bit more expensive to collect the set, having a few more variations of the biggest names in the set would have been a welcome addition.