t205 Baseball Cards

After the tremendous success of the T206 cards, the American Tobacco Company needed a worthy follow-up release. In 1911, the T205 Gold Border set became that. The cards were distributed by 11 different cigarette brands across the country.

While a lot of newer collectors may think T205 baseball cards come before the T206 set, they were actually a follow-up to the T206s. Like many of the other tobacco card sets, the name designation came from Jefferson Burdick’s book: The American Card Catalog

With regards to the design, the T205s featured a gold gilded border. Since they used metal dust in the ink, many cards have changed color over time. You’ll see that some now have a green appearance to them.

The gold color also makes wear show easily on the cards. There are only 4 current examples graded a PSA 9 in the set registry. High grades in these are expensive!

The T205s also have 3 distinct designs based on the league a player was in.

American League

The American league cards have a diamond frame that features a baseball, two bats, and catchers equipment.

National League

The National league cards have large portrait shots with the an autograph below the picture. It’s actually the first time a signature appeared on a card.

Minor
League

Minor league cards have an elaborate design that features columns on both side

This set is much easier to complete than the T206. While the back states there are ‘400 Designs’ there really are only 208 cards (232 if you hunt the variations).  This was common with pre-war sets as even later brands like Goudey promised large releases which they never produced.

While some players like Roger Bresnahan and Eddie Collins have multiple cards, it’s nothing like the T206 set where players can have up to 5 different images. There’s a total of 27 different HOF players including Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, and Christy Mathewson.

T205 Card Backs

The following brands are featured on the backs of t205 cards. They are listed down below in order of scarcity. In total, there are 17 different back combinations when you include factory numbers. If you look carefully, you might be able to find a Piedmont Factory 42 at a card show. Often many people don’t realize how scarce they actually are and assume its a normal piedmont.

  • Piedmont Factory 25
  • Polar Bear
  • Sweet Caporal
  • Sweet Caporal Factory 25
  • Sweet Caporal Factory 42
  • Hassan Factory 649
  • Honest Long Cut
  • Sovereign
  • Hassan Factory 30
  • Cycle
  • American Beauty green
  • American Beauty black
  • Piedmont Factory 42
  • Broadleaf black
  • Hindu
  • Drum

I picked up a Piedmont Factory 42 at the Strongsville Card Show. Check it out below. 

Notable Cards

Addie Joss

Joss was on track for a HOF career before tragically passing away due to tubercular meningitis before the start of the 1911 season.

In only 9 years, he had over 150 Wins with a sub 1 WHIP and sub 2 ERA. 

This card was a tribute to his life and career.

The back states: “Addie Joss, whose death in 1911 was a great loss to his team and to the national game, was a native of Cleveland, and had always played with the team from that city. His best year was in 1908, when he won 24 games out of 35, and put the Naps within half a point of the pennant. On October 2 of that year he pitched a game against Chicago, when no player of the White Sox reached first.

 

He was a faithful player, liked by his team mates (sp.) and respected by the public, many thousands of whom attended his funeral.”

In 1978, Joss would be elected to the baseball HOF. This made him the only player to make the Hall of Fame without playing a full 10 seasons.

Ty Cobb

1911_T205_Piedmont_Ty_Cobb

Ty Cobb is the best player featured in this set. There are many pre war and vintage collectors who want to acquire any of his playing day cards.

Unlike the T206s he only has one card which makes this much scarcer to find.

Also, 1911 was the year that he won his first and only MVP award. He batted .419 with 248 hits and a 196 OPS+.

Christy Matthewson Cycle Back Error

Screenshot_242

Front of Card

cycle-back

Error Back

Screenshot_244

Normal Back

Christy Matthewson was one of the top pitchers in baseball in the early 1900s. Due to a printing error on his cycle back card, it lists Matthewson as only having 1 loss in 1908. 

On every other card, it shows 11 losses. 

Due to the scarcity of the cycle back and the stardom of Matthewson, this card is extremely expensive. 

There are a total of 26 graded with PSA. The last 1 did $4,200 in a 2021 REA Auction.

Walter Johnson

Screenshot_246

Walter Johnson was the 2nd best player in the game at the time behind only Ty Cobb. The legendary pitcher won 2 MVPs and 3 Triple crowns across his career. He also accumulated 165 WAR and 3,500 strikeouts.

The T205 is one of his earlier career cards and much more affordable than his T206 Portrait or T204 Ramly.

Cy Young

1911 features one of the last playing day of cards of Cy Young. That year Young split time between the Cleveland Naps and Boston Rustlers before officially retiring at the age of 44.

Across his 22 year career, he ended up winning 511 games! Cy Young is a popular card amongst collectors due to the pitching award named after him. Tons of collectors will want any card with his name on it.

I picked up an SGC 1 at the Dallas Card Show in 2021 when I traded away my 1968 Nolan Ryan rookie card.

T205 Set Checklist

Ed Abbaticchio – Boston Rustlers

Doc Adkins – Baltimore Orioles

Leon Ames – New York Giants

Jimmy Archer – Chicago Cubs

Jimmy Austin – New York Yankees

Bill Bailey – St. Louis Browns

Home Run Baker – Philadelphia Athletics

Neal Ball – Cleveland Naps

E.B. Barger – Brooklyn Dodgers

Jack Barry – Philadelphia Athletics

Emil Batch – Rochester Bronchos

Johnny Bates – Philadelphia Phillies

Fred Beck – Boston Rustlers

Beals Becker – New York Giants

George Bell – Brooklyn Dodgers

Chief Bender – Philadelphia Athletics

Bill Bergen – Brooklyn Dodgers

Bob Bescher – Cincinnati Reds

Joe Birmingham – Cleveland Naps

Lena Blackburne – Chicago White Sox

William E. Bransfield – Philadelphia Phillies

Roger Bresnahan – St. Louis Cardinals

Al Bridwell – New York Giants

Mordecai Brown – Chicago Cubs

Bobby Byrne – Pittsburgh Pirates

Hick Cady – Newark Indians

Howie Camnitz – Pittsburgh Pirates

Bill Carrigan – Boston Red Sox

Frank Chance – Chicago Cubs

Hal Chase – New York Yankees

Eddie Cicotte – Boston Red Sox

Fred Clarke – Pittsburgh Pirates

Ty Cobb – Detroit Tigers

Eddie Collins – Philadelphia Athletics

Jimmy Collins – Providence Grays

Frank J. Corridon – St. Louis Cardinals

Otis Crandall – New York Giants

Lou Criger – New York Yankees

Bill Dahlen – Brooklyn Dodgers

Jake Daubert – Brooklyn Dodgers

Jim Delehanty – Detroit Tigers

Arthur Devlin – New York Giants

Josh Devore – New York Giants

W.R. Dickson – New York Giants

Jiggs Donahue – Chicago White Sox

Red Dooin – Philadelphia Phillies

Mickey Doolan – Philadelphia Phillies

Patsy Dougherty – Chicago White Sox

Tom Downey – Cincinnati Reds

Larry Doyle – New York Giants

Hugh Duffy – Chicago White Sox

Jack Dunn – Baltimore Orioles

Jimmy Dygert – Philadelphia Athletics

Dick Egan – Cincinnati Reds

Kid Elberfeld – Washington Senators

Clyde Engle – Boston Red Sox

Louis Evans – St. Louis Cardinals

Johnny Evers – Chicago Cubs

Bob Ewing – Philadelphia Phillies

George Ferguson – Boston Rustlers

Ray Fisher – New York Yankees

Art Fletcher – New York Giants

John Flynn – Pittsburgh Pirates

Russ Ford – New York Yankees

Bill Foxen – Chicago Cubs

Jimmy Frick – Newark Indians

Art Fromme – Cincinnati Reds

Earle Gardner – New York Yankees

Harry Gaspar – Cincinnati Reds

George Gibson – Pittsburgh Pirates

Wilbur Good – Boston Rustlers

George Graham – Chicago Cubs

Eddie Grant – Cincinnati Reds

Dolly Gray – Washington Senators

Clark Griffith – Cincinnati Reds

Bob Groom – Washington Senators

Charlie Hanford – Jersey City Skeeters

Bob Harmon – St. Louis Cardinals

Topsy Hartsel – Philadelphia Athletics

Arnold J. Hauser – St. Louis Cardinals

Charlie Hemphill – New York Yankees

C.L. Herzog – Boston Rustlers

Dick Hoblitzell – Cincinnati Reds

Danny Hoffman – St. Louis Browns

Miller Huggins – St. Louis Cardinals

John Hummel – Brooklyn Dodgers

Fred Jacklitsch – Philadelphia Phillies

Hughie Jennings – Detroit Tigers

Walter Johnson – Washington Senators

Davy Jones – Detroit Tigers

Tom Jones – Detroit Tigers

Addie Joss – Cleveland Naps

Ed Karger – Boston Red Sox

Ed Killian – Detroit Tigers

Red Kleinow – Boston Red Sox

Johnny Kling – Chicago Cubs

John Knight – New York Yankees

Ed Konetchy – St. Louis Cardinals

Harry Krause – Philadelphia Athletics

Floyd M. Kroh – Chicago Cubs

Frank LaPorte – St. Louis Browns

Frank Lange – Chicago White Sox

Arlie Latham – New York Giants

Tommy Leach – Pittsburgh Pirates

Watty Lee – Newark Indians

Sam Leever – Pittsburgh Pirates

Lefty Leifield – Pittsburgh Pirates

Ed Lennox – Brooklyn Dodgers

Paddy Livingston – Philadelphia Athletics

Hans Lobert – Philadelphia Phillies

Bris Lord – Philadelphia Athletics

Harry Lord – Chicago White Sox

John C. Lush – St. Louis Cardinals

Nick Maddox – Pittsburgh Pirates

Sherry Magee – Philadelphia Phillies

Rube Marquard – New York Giants

Christy Mathewson – New York Giants

Al Mattern – Boston Rustlers

Sport McAllister – Newark Indians

George McBride – Washington Senators

Amby McConnell – Chicago White Sox

Pryor McElveen – Brooklyn Dodgers

John J. McGraw – New York Giants

Harry McIntyre – Chicago Cubs

Matty McIntyre – Chicago White Sox

Larry McLean – Cincinnati Reds

Fred Merkle – New York Giants

George Merritt – Buffalo Bisons

Chief Meyers – New York Giants

Clyde Milan – Washington Senators

Dots Miller – Pittsburgh Pirates

Mike Mitchell – Cincinnati Reds

Pat Moran – Philadelphia Phillies

George Moriarty – Detroit Tigers

George Mullin – Detroit Tigers

Danny Murphy – Philadelphia Athletics

Jack Murray – New York Giants

John Nee – Newark Indians

Tom Needham – Chicago Cubs

Rebel Oakes – St. Louis Cardinals

Rube Oldring – Philadelphia Athletics

Charley O’Leary – Detroit Tigers

Fred Olmstead – Chicago White Sox

Orval Overall – Chicago Cubs

Freddy Parent – Chicago White Sox

Dode Paskert – Philadelphia Phillies

Fred Payne – Chicago White Sox

Barney Pelty – St. Louis Browns

Jack Pfiester – Chicago Cubs

Jimmy Phelan – Providence Grays

Ed Phelps – St. Louis Cardinals

Deacon Phillippe – Pittsburgh Pirates

Jack Quinn – New York Yankees

Bugs Raymond – New York Giants

Ed Reulbach – Chicago Cubs

Lewis Richie – Chicago Cubs

John Rowan – Philadelphia Phillies

Nap Rucker – Brooklyn Dodgers

W.D. Scanlan – Brooklyn Dodgers

Germany Schaefer – Washington Senators

Admiral Schlei – New York Giants

Boss Schmidt – Detroit Tigers

Frank Schulte – Chicago Cubs

Jim Scott – Chicago White Sox

Bud Sharpe – Boston Rustlers

David Shean – Boston Rustlers

Jimmy Sheckard – Chicago Cubs

Hack Simmons – Detroit Tigers

Tony Smith – Brooklyn Dodgers

Fred Snodgrass – New York Giants

Tris Speaker – Boston Red Sox

Jake Stahl – Boston Red Sox

Oscar Stanage – Detroit Tigers

Harry Steinfeldt – Chicago Cubs

George Stone – St. Louis Browns

George Stovall – Cleveland Naps

Gabby Street – Washington Senators

George Suggs – Cincinnati Reds

Ed Summers – Detroit Tigers

Jeff Sweeney – New York Yankees

Lee Tannehill – Chicago White Sox

Ira Thomas – Philadelphia Athletics

Joe Tinker – Chicago Cubs

John Titus – Philadelphia Phillies

Terry Turner – Cleveland Naps

James Vaughn – New York Yankees

Heinie Wagner – Boston Red Sox

Bobby Wallace – St. Louis Browns

Ed Walsh – Chicago White Sox

Zack Wheat – Brooklyn Dodgers

Doc White – Chicago White Sox

Kirby White – Pittsburgh Pirates

Kaiser Wilhelm – Brooklyn Dodgers

Ed Willett – Detroit Tigers

Chief Wilson – Pittsburgh Pirates

Hooks Wiltse – New York Giants

Harry Wolter – New York Yankees

Cy Young – Cleveland Naps

T205 Variations

  • E.B. Barger – full “B” on hat
  • E.B. Barger – partial “B” on hat
  • Roger Bresnahan – mouth closed
  • Roger Bresnahan – mouth open
  • Hal Chase – gold diamond frame ends below shoulders
  • Hal Chase – gold diamond frame ends at shoulders
  • Eddie Collins – mouth closed
  • Eddie Collins – mouth open
  • Otis Crandall – “t” in name is crossed
  • Otis Crandall – “t” in name not crossed
  • Patsy Dougherty – Sox sock icon filled with red
  • Patsy Dougherty – Sox sock icon filled with white
  • Russ Ford – black cap
  • Russ Ford – white cap
  • Dolly Gray – no stats on back
  • Dolly Gray – stats on back
  • Bob Harmon – shows both ears
  • Bob Harmon – shows left ear
  • Dick Hoblitzell – no stats on back
  • Dick Hoblitzell – “Cin.” listed after 1908 in stats
  • Dick Hoblitzell – name incorrectly listed as “Hobitzel”
  • Dick Hoblitzell – “Cin.” not listed after 1908
  • Arlie Latham – Listed as A. Latham on back
  • Arlie Latham – Listed as W.A. Latham on back
  • Lefty Leifield – Listed as A. Leifield on front
  • Lefty Leifield – Listed as A. P. Leifield on front
  • Christy Mathewson – W/L record on back shows “37-1” instead of “37-11”
  • Pat Moran – no line under stats
  • Pat Moran – line under stats
  • Bobby Wallace – one line of 1910 stats
  • Bobby Wallace – two lines of 1910 stats
  • Irwin K. Wilhelm – missing letter “r” in suffered
  • Hooks Wiltse – shows both ears
  • Hooks Wiltse – shows left ear
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