T210 Tobacco Cards – Minor League Stars are Major League Collectibles
The T210 minor league tobacco card set was issued during the golden age of tobacco cards and was a contemporary set of the much more celebrated T206 set. The massive T210 issue would be the largest of its day and would remain the biggest issue for decades until Topps bested it in the 1960s.
The fronts featured a full body or portrait shot in black and white surrounded by a bright red border. The backs were the exclusive property of Old Mill Cigarettes unlike the T205, T206 and other tobacco sites which varied the sponsor. Celebrating the players of the minor leagues, the set covered the South Atlantic League, Virginia League, Texas League, Virginia Valley League, Carolina Association, Blue Grass League, Eastern Carolina League and the Southern League in a set issued in Series 1 through 6.
Today, few collectors tackle the entire set.
The levels of scarcity of Series 6 through 8 make collecting a single league a daunting task. There are cards in several of the series that are highly sought after but rarely become available: Series 7 Kelly (mascot) card, Series 6 Angermeir (fielding); and the Series 4 Benny card are just three that instantly spring to mind. This is not including the much heralded and rarely seen Joe Jackson New Orleans Series 8 card. Before he was tearing up the majors, Shoeless Joe was holding court in the Southern League. The Ole Professor himself, Casey Stengel, was a young man roaming the outfield for Maysville of the Blue Grass League. His Series 6 card is a prized collectible. There are many more men who rose from the T210 set to become major league players. It is for all these reasons that many collectors choose a niche to collect. Many tackle a Series, others a single city, others collect just the portraits, and many seek the cards of those that ended up as big leaguers, others stick with the variation and error cards like those with orange or yellow borders, large borders, ghost prints, overprints, or miscuts. There is no wrong way to collect this set.
As the years rolled on many of these players fell into obscurity and the set was largely forgotten. Today, there are enthusiastic collectors around the world looking for these red bordered gems. Large finds are never terribly large or common, but Robert Edwards Auctions has had several large lots in the past decade. Each time a Joe Jackson pops up for sale, it is serious hobby new. Many wonder what a high grade Jackson would bring with PSA 2s commanding $150,000 plus.
If you are looking for a new type card to collect or want to add more tobacco cards to your collection, check out the exciting T210 red border cards today. And as always: sell baseball cards you hate so you can buy the ones you love!