Card of the Day: 1909 T206 Lefty Leifield

The 1909-11 T206 set is one of my favorite baseball card sets ever. It’s right there with the 1887 Old Judge set for me. The T206 set has numerous all-time greats with multiple cards for many of those players. There are four cards of Ty Cobb, two of Walter Johnson, three for Cy Young and of course the Honus Wagner card, which is the world’s most expensive baseball card.

The T206 set not only had over 500 cards, they included different cigarette brand backs on those cards, making a master set of T206 cards run well into the thousands. People collect the set so many different ways as well. You can put out a lot of money going for just the Hall of Famers in the set. Someone people collect them by a certain back. Some people only collect printing related errors. Due to rarities, there are different levels of “complete” sets. Some leave off the Wagner card for their set. Others go for all but two cards/three cards/four cards and six cards as well. It really just depends on your budget, as those top six cards can get very pricey. Obviously there’s no wrong way to collect it.

My personal favorite card in the set is the pitching variation of the Lefty Leifield card. It’s just a common card, but in my personal opinion, it’s the best looking card. As far as T206 cards go, this is one that should be affordable to most. Let’s get into the card so you can see why I personally like it so much.

Here’s the front of the card:

The T206 set has a lot of portrait cards, which are very popular, even among an extremely popular set. I would rather see action shots, although I’ll admit that the artwork in the set seems to be better on average for the portrait cards. That’s not the case here, as this is a good representation of Leifield in his Pirates road grays. There was no “Pittsburg” across the front of the jerseys back then. That was some artistic creativity added to this set (not just for the Pirates)

Another thing I have to add is that the nicest condition T206 card I own is this particular card (not the one in the scan). It’s ungraded, but it would possibly grade a PSA 9 because it’s near flawless. I only have one other card in similar shape from the set, but not as nice. The colors on the Leifield I own are amazing, so that could weigh a bit into why I like it so much. If you see this card in person in nice shape, it will really stand out among other T206 cards. Most other cards don’t have as many colors going on, especially in the background.

Here’s the back of the card:

This is the most common back for the T206 set. If you bought a pile of these cards that represented the set’s current population, you would likely end up with more copies of this back than anything else. If you remove just the specific “150 subjects” part of this back and just look at Piedmont the brand, then a majority of the cards in your pile would have this brand. Many of the back brands add value, but this is as common of a common card that you can get.

Speaking of value, you might want to know how much you have to shell out to get one of these beauties. There are 15 on Ebay right now, though a few are straight auctions, so they won’t be up by the time you see this article. The prices are pretty high for the low grade buy it now auctions, with $60 being the lowest price for one that wouldn’t grade higher than a PSA 1. The next three going up in value aren’t as nice as that one, yet they are in the $70-$85 range. There’s one with a Sovereign back, which is semi-hard to find. That’s $184. The graded cards are overpriced.

Looking instead at completed auctions, a PSA 4 ended for $250. An SGC 4.5 ended for $245. A PSA 2 was $155, an SGC 3 went for $145. However, straight auctions proved better for customers, as a PSA 2.5 ended for $77 (plus tax). An SGC 2 ended for $68. A decent looking (VG grade possibly) ungraded card ended for $67, while one seller didn’t do his homework and let a low grade card go for $40, which was quickly scooped up.