If I didn’t stretch my definition of what makes a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball card, then there are some sets that I would never cover here. That would mean that some former Pirates players would never appear in this series either. Today’s featured card is from one of those sets, featuring one of those players.
Walter “Judge” Nagle made his big league debut with the 1911 Pirates. His Major League time was over five months later. The rest of his pro career was spent in California. Today’s featured set is the T212 Obak set. Today’s card was produced in 1910, but the Obak set itself was put out in three groups over three years, first released in 1909, with the final series being printed in 1911. The reason you won’t find any Pittsburgh Pirates cards in the set is because the Obak set only features players from the Pacific Coast League and the Northwestern League. There are no big league teams in the set, but plenty of players who received a big league shot appear in the set.
Here’s the front of the card:
These cards have a look very similar to the famous T206 set. They were also produced/released in the same exact time-frame. The sizes and setup are the same as well. I don’t know if it’s just because I collected the T206 set one-by-one and looked at it so many times over the years, but for me, it’s easy to tell them apart. The artwork is similar, though it’s different enough that I don’t need to see the names/teams to tell them apart. This card in particular has more of a T206 look than others. Some of the backgrounds on Obak cards are a bit wild, and look nothing like a baseball background. The T206 set doesn’t have anything similar, so some of the Obak cards REALLY stand out.
Nagle in particular is one of my favorite cards from this set. The Pirates connection helps, but I love the look of ballpark in the background. Just like with the T206 set, some of the artwork is better than others. This is a pretty good one here.
Here’s the back of the card:
Unlike the backs of T206 cards where different brands are worth more money, all of the cards in the T212 set have Obak advertisements on the back. However, there are different backs for each year of the T212 set. There are also different slogans on the 1910 backs. The slogan here is the “paper crimped”, but if you look through scans from this set, you might see 10-15 different slogans before seeing a repeat. One source I just looked up said there are 35 different slogans.
The number with the “baseball series —subjects” says 175 here, but some backs from this year say 150. It doesn’t matter really, because the 1910 portion of the set is actually 175 cards. The 150 and 175 backs are from the same sets. They printed 76 cards in 1909 and 175 in 1911, making the one whole set a total of 426 cards.
The only Nagle card available right now on Ebay is the scan you see above. It’s graded a PSA 2 and the asking price is $280. This set isn’t that expensive for commons, though it is much tougher to find particular cards compared to the T206 set, where low grade commons go for $50 each. Low grade/ungraded commons in this set can go for as low as $25 each, but you probably want to be a little higher so the cards aren’t so well-loved over the years. Common T212 cards in a PSA 2 grade have been selling recently around $75-$100.