New Discoveries in the 1922 T231 Fans Cigarettes Set

Two new T231 Fans Cigarettes baseball cards have been added to the checklist

Making progress on uncovering the 1922 Fans Cigarettes checklist has not come easy. In the nearly 100 years since the cards have been issued, this is a set that’s been mostly lost to the hobby. As of recently, only three cards were known in the entire set (with only one known copy of each of those). The set was cataloged as T231 by Jefferson Burdick in his American Card Catalog.

If you’re unfamiliar with these cards, you’re not alone. But they were apparently used for some sort of contest with collectors to select certain players. Exact reasons are vague but player batting averages for the preceding seasons were printed on the backs along with spaces for collectors to write their name/address, designating they were ‘selecting’ the subject pictured. These cards were distributed inside packages of Fans Cigarettes.

To date, the cards have rarely been seen. But longtime collector brought two more to the spotlight recently after finding them in his collection. Scott Alpaugh is the man with the discovery. Calling them a ‘new find’ may not be entirely appropriate as he’d bought the cards by his estimation about 35 years ago. But he only recently was able to locate them and recently had them slabbed by PSA.

I wrote more about the fascinating discovery here for Sports Collectors Daily.

The cards discovered are not huge names — Alpaugh’s cards are of Joe Bush and Sam Bohne. But their importance is through the roof despite the subjects. In a set where only three other cards were known to exist, these two additions are quite significant.

The cards are not in great shape. Both, like many of the cards Alpaugh bought along with these, are trimmed. These two, in particular, are trimmed badly. That, unfortunately, means we don’t even have the card numbers as those appeared on the front but were cut off of these.

Still, again, their importance cannot be understated. This set is incredibly scarce and even cards torn entirely in half would be celebrated and carry value just because Fans Cigarettes card are nearly impossible to find.

What are they potentially worth? Trying to determine a value for the cards is just as impossible. Because so few exact, it’s extremely difficult to gauge their value. The highest-profile card in the set is for Hall of Famer Home Run Baker. The Baker, graded a modest SGC 1.5, was sold by Heritage in 2015 for nearly $11,000. Neither Bush nor Bohne, obviously, is on the level of Baker, and these cards are in lesser condition. But the price that the Baker fetched was well before the current boom in prices for sports cards we’re currently experiencing.

I love stuff like this — just a really important discovery that helps to checklist a very scarce set.

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