1910 C60 Imperial Lacrosse Lot Yields Unusual Find

A rare print error surfaces in a tough pre-war tobacco card set

For a while, I’d contemplated buying some of the pre-war tobacco cards found in the C59, C60, and C60 Imperial Lacrosse sets.

While there are probably rarer lacrosse cards, that trio of early sets is sort of the standard for pre-war lacrosse. Despite that, the cards often go unnoticed because of lacrosse’s limited popularity. In fact, part of the reason the sets are on the radar at all is because they include several early hockey stars that also played lacrosse. Those cards have helped the sets generate interest among hockey collectors. Issued out of Canada, they’re also very rare so even many collectors of pre-war cards are not familiar with them.

Low-grade cards in the sets typically start around $20-$25 and, frankly, I just never had much of an appetite to pick up one or two because they’d feature players I’d never even heard of. The cards of hockey players are significantly more expensive than the commons.

But finding a group of them was right up my alley. I’d have a few different cards and the cards would add a bit of intrigue to my large pre-war collection. But what I didn’t count on were a few surprises.

Four of the cards in the six-card lot have hand cut edges, that I didn’t notice before until Todd Tobias, a noted lacrosse collector, pointed out to me.

Now, that was a nice find in a way in that it could mean the cards were scraps. The largest parts of the cards measure wider than regular cards, meaning they were likely cut down. But the card that really intrigued me was one that had a miscut back.

Admittedly, I didn’t pay too much attention to that initially. But when I got the cards, I was in for quite a treat.

The card pictures Eugene Gauthier on the front. I haven’t been able to find too many references to Gauthier, other than ones that noted him as, indeed, a Canadian lacrosse player. But it’s the back that matters.

The back of the card is heavily miscut, as I’d seen. Roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of the back of another card is present on it. But the back is also printed upside down and, most notably, the name on the back is for a player named R. Pringle instead of Gauthier. It’s a wrong back that is badly miscut and printed upside down — sort of a perform storm.

If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time, you probably know I love scraps and major print errors like this. And it made a nice find even nicer. Major print errors like this are usually pretty rare but in the case of a very rare set like the Imperial releases, they’re even tougher to find.

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