Card of the Day: 1912 JK Candy Dots Miller

Today’s Card of the Day is extremely rare. This is one of three Dots Miller cards that I own that probably have ten combined copies still in existence between the trio. I’ve only seen four copies and heard of one other between the three cards, but I assume some more are out there. I don’t know if the 1912 JK Candy card is the toughest of the three, but it’s possible. The other two have been featured here before. They are the 1910 Orange Border set and the 1911 Baseball Bats set, which could be unique. In fact, that Baseball Bats card is so rare that it was actually taken off of the checklist for this set at one point because no one could confirm it existed.

I haven’t been featuring Card of the Day articles daily recently because I’m working on a major history project. I had to choose between the daily history article or the Card of the Day article, and I chose the daily history. I’ve been updating and extending all of those player bios each day. The Card of the Day will return by early November, but for now you still get sporadic ones. Today is the birth date of Dots Miller. He’s my hometown hero, so he gets an extra article. I’m actually writing this up on September 5th, which is the 100th anniversary of his passing, so there’s some added meaning to the article.

Let’s take a look at one of the rarest baseball cards you’ll ever see (check the other links above as well).

Here’s the front (the back is blank):

This card clearly isn’t your typical baseball card. These were distributed as part of candy boxes, so their survival over 110 years later relied on someone taking the time to cut them off of the box without completely ruining them for future generations to enjoy. Most of these cards were just thrown out with the empty box. The backside is just cardboard, while the front design uses a photo that was also used on some of Miller’s other cards from the era. However, there’s something interesting here that would be a bit hard to notice without a comparison picture.

Here’s a look at Miller’s T206 card, which is based off of a real photo from 1909 that I’ve seen.

If you look at the two of them, you’ll notice that it’s actually the same photo. The candy card issued three years later took the time to get rid of the baseball bat and give Miller a ball and glove, without changing the positioning of his hands. Both of them are artistic renderings from black & white photos, so there are going to be some differences in that area, but the fact that they changed this from a batting pose to a fielding pose without changing anything on Miller is amazing.

Usually I give a price here, but that’s impossible to do for this card, because I own the only one I know about. Every card from this set is near impossible. The only one on Ebay (including the last three months of completed auctions) is $4,500 for a card of Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh. A Hall of Fame card is going to go for more than a semi-star card. A Honus Wagner went for $11,400 three years ago. Shortly before that sale, a common from the set in rough shape went for $330, while one of Pirates catcher George Gibson sold for $600. The card market has gone up since 2020, so those cards would likely sell for more now.

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