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    Only one card graded higher in the entire 121-card issue!

    1909 T204 Ramly Walter Johnson Rookie PSA NM-MT 8--Population Two! For over half a century, Walter Johnson endured a lonely existence as the sole inhabitant of the 3,000 Strikeout Clubhouse until Cardinals ace Bob Gibson became his first roommate in 1974. Though Gibson may have matched Johnson's famous velocity, the Big Train was a singular rarity in the dawning decades of the twentieth century, striking fear into the hearts of even the most accomplished and unflappable batsmen of the day.

    "The first time I faced him, I watched him take that easy windup," the legendary Ty Cobb recounted. "And then something went past me that made me flinch. The thing just hissed with danger. We couldn't touch him. Every one of us knew we'd met the most powerful arm ever turned loose in a ball park."

    Three decades after that memorable first encounter, Cobb and Johnson would join Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson as the very first inductees of the Baseball Hall of Fame. The offered trading card is even more exclusive than that 1936 induction class, one of only two to garner a NM-MT 8 rating from the meticulous graders at PSA, with none superior.

    The stunning aesthetics of this 1909 issue makes it one of our very favorites of the tobacco era, but it's rare to find them in any state of condition today, much less at this elite grading level. Just under 3,000 representations from the entire 121-card set have been encapsulated by the hobby's leading service, and only a single example has earned a Mint 9 rating, with no Gem Mint 10's. That Mint 9 specimen pictures Hobe Ferris, a middle infielder and .239 lifetime hitter, hardly an elite figure in baseball history. We'll also point out that Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Cy Young don't appear in the set at all, so this is undeniably the most desirable T204 Ramly that exists.

    The stunning beauty of its gold foil borders and central design is typically both a blessing and a curse for collectors, but only the former here, as the format's unique susceptibility to signs of wear is absent in this remarkable representation. As the contemporary T206 issue (1909-11) is commonly identified as the Big Train's rookie card, we feel comfortable utilizing that adjective here as well. When considering the rarity of the issue, the stupendous condition of the offered card, and the supreme significance of the subject, this is unquestionably one of the most exciting tobacco cards that Heritage has had the privilege to present to our global audience.

    Guide Value or Estimate: $150,000 - up.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    30th Friday
    Auction Dates
    21st-22nd Saturday-Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    5 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 359
    Auction Type
    Signature Internet Extended Bid: These Auctions are presented via catalog and online. Bidding is taken through our website or via phone. There are two phases of bidding during this type of auction: 1) Normal bidding: Bids are taken up until 10 PM CT the night the auction closes. 2) 30 Minute Ending: On a lot-by-lot basis, starting at 10:00 PM CT, any person who has bid on the lot previously may continue to bid on that lot until there are no more bids for 30 minutes. For example, if you bid on a lot during Normal Bidding, you could participate during Extended Bidding for that lot, but not on lots you did not bid on previously. If a bid was placed at 10:15, the new end time for that lot would become 10:45. If no other bids were placed before 10:45, the lot would close. If you are the high bidder on a lot, changing your bid will not extend the bidding during the 30 Minute Ending phase (only a bid from another bidder will extend bidding). If you are the only bidder at 10 PM, you will automatically win the lot at 10:30. Important: After normal bidding ends, you must be signed-on to the Heritage site to see the bidding option on lots where you qualify for extended bidding.
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