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Description1909-11 T206 Eddie Plank PSA EX-MT 6. An outstanding baseball career earned a second home for Eddie Plank through enshrinement at Cooperstown, but the American Tobacco Company's T206 card set gave him immortality. The portrait of the A's hurler is familiar to all collecting hobbyists - even those having just a passing knowledge of the trading card specialties - and it's justifiably regarded as one of the most significant captures in the industry. As could be anticipated, theories abound with respect to the causes behind the T206's legendary rarity - including an aversion to tobacco on Plank's part, a break in the printing plate used to produce his depiction, and licensing conflicts with the various "E"-card manufacturers of the time - and the failure to prove or disprove these speculations only adds fuel to the T206 Plank's mystique. With this in mind, the matter-of-fact facial expression in Carl Horner's likeness of Plank seems to issue a quiet challenge to aspiring T206 completists, all of whom are keenly aware of their present, Plank-less holdings' shortcomings.
The rarity of the T206 Plank is just one hurdle to be circumvented by the determined collector, but quality considerations aren't suited for the faint of heart, either. So few Planks exist and, of those, so few are capable of upholding a sophisticated assembly's exacting standards for preservation. For someone who detests compromise, the Plank seen here is one of less than a dozen copies in the world that's able to withstand the most discriminating examination and emerge with results deemed abundantly satisfactory. The majority of T206 Planks able to boast of such character, of course, are firmly embedded in the hobby's finest collections, making the availability of the example presented here an especially choice opportunity.
Interpretation of PSA's compartmented T206 census reports can allow for no more than about fifty holdered copies - rivaling Wagner in strict terms of rarity - with perhaps three at this satisfying EX-MT level and the prospect of no more than five graded higher. Numbers-crunching of any sort, however, sells short the aesthetic properties of the Plank under consideration here. This is an item that exhibits breathtaking detail in the color tones that comprise Plank's image and which frame his design. It's inconceivable that a standard for appearance could exist, against which this delectable piece wouldn't meet or handily exceed all qualifications. Further exclusivity is derived from this specimen's scarcer "Sweet Caporal - 350 Subjects" back design which, in this instance, showcases strong and highly viable red inking with no interruptions. Light touches at the bottom-edge corners, evanescent traces of age-toning in the caption area and within the right margin at the mid-point, and a very slight rightward tendency in framing alignment combine to summarize the entirety of the technical measures by which the piece falls just a bit shy of perfection. This singular card is fated to become a cornerstone of an advanced collection, and it will confer an indescribable air of importance from the moment of its introduction.
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