Frank Chance and His Three T206 Cards
Let’s take a look at the three T206 cards of Hall of Famer Frank Chance
Frank Chance is one of many Hall of Famers found on more than one card in the famous T206 set. And like the cards of other players, his cards shouldn’t all be considered to be equals.
Chance predictably has both portrait and action pictures. In all, he has three cards in the set but the unique thing about his cards is that he has two portraits. A few other players earned that distinction (i.e. Ty Cobb and Hal Chase) but most players with a portrait card have only one.
Starting with those, Chance’s two portraits are pretty similar. But the biggest difference is that one has a yellow background and one has a red background. Those are usually how you’ll hear of them being categorized – red background and yellow background. Also, the uniforms Chance is wearing are different as one bears the ‘Chicago’ name while the other one has ‘Cubs’ horizontally printed on it.
Of note is that the yellow portrait card is sometimes seen with quite a bit of fluctuation in that background color due to the levels of certain colors of ink during the printing process. It’s technically called the yellow background portrait but that yellow is sometimes mixed with orange or even predominantly orange in some cases. And while I’ve seen color variances in the red background card, the yellow background seems to have more of them.
There’s no doubt that Chance’s red portrait card is tougher. I say that not only from firsthand experience as I had a heck of a time finding one for my set but also because that’s what PSA’s population report bears out. More than 1,200 of Chance’s yellow background card has been graded by PSA to date while only about half that number of red portraits have been graded. To me, the red Chance card has always been one that’s been underestimated by collectors.
It should be pointed out that not everyone undervalues the card. In fact, part of the reason I had so much trouble finding one is that the few I saw often had very high price tags affixed to them by sellers. Some, no doubt, are very aware of how much rarer the card is compared to its yellow background counterpart. But interestingly, at straight auctions, the red typically doesn’t sell for too much more.
Chance’s third card is, as mentioned, an action shot. Specifically, we’ve got the Hall of Famer in a batting pose here.
Now, if you’re familiar with the T206 set, you likely know that Chance’s card looks, um, pretty similar to one for another Cubs Hall of Famer. The card is not identical to the bat off variation of Joe Tinker but, side by side (shown here, Chance on left, Tinker on right), we see the similarities pretty easily.
Both players are wearing the same version of Chicago’s jersey. The arm placement on both is similar. And both players are facing in the same direction with the same yellow background. As stated, there are some differences. But it’s very easy for collectors to mix up the two cards.
In terms of rarity, Chance’s batting card has been graded about as much as his rarer red portrait card. And given that collectors might tend to grade the popular portrait cards a bit more, that speaks to the rarity of his batting version even more. Just as Chance’s red portrait card is probably underappreciated, his batting card probably is a bit as well.
Regarding the prices of the three cards, like all T206 Hall of Famers, the cards have increased in value. Chance’s yellow portrait cards start around $75 in low-grade condition. His rarer red portrait and batting cards aren’t too much more, despite the rarity factor, starting around $100.