T205 Gold Borders Baseball Cards
Known for its distinctive design, the T205 set can be viewed as three separate sets because they have different designs for American league, National League and minor league cards. Additionally, they are found with eleven different cigarette advertisements on their backs. They are among the first sets to feature biographical write-ups and statistics - staples of later baseball card issues - on the back. In the end, however, they are grouped together because of one very visible design element: a gold border.
Card fronts for American League players show them inside a diamond-shaped frame, along with a baseball, two bats, a catcher's glove and mask. A banner showing the player's last name and team city appear below the picture, while a logo and team name appear in an upper corner. National Leaguers are given head-and-shoulders shots and their edges blend into the card's solid background. They also have a team name and logo in the upper corner, but a facsimile autograph appears below the photo. That marked the first time one of those was found in a major card set. Minor leaguers are given a more elaborate design, featuring columns and other elements to frame a three-quarter length picture. All the designs are surrounded by a frame of gold.
All cards regardless of front design feature the same back. The player's full name appears at the top and a short biography follows, along with a line of stats. At the very bottom is an advertisement for one of the cigarette brands from the American Tobacco Company that used the cards in their packages. The brands are (in order of scarcity, from common to tough) Piedmont, Sweet Caporal, Polar Bear, Hassan, Honest long cut, Cycle, American Beauty, Broadleaf, Hindu and Drum.
While some have been able to complete a type set featuring an example for each advertisement back, advanced collectors look further. Piedmont cards have either a Factory 25 or 42 marking. Sweet Caporal has the same factory numbers in black ink or red (Factory 42 only). Hassan cards mention either Factory 30 or 649. American Beauty backs appear with either black or green ink. There have also been some proofs with blank backs uncovered.
In all, there are 208 card fronts that make up a basic T205 set. There are a number of variations involving both the front designs and the text on the back, which some collectors try to complete as well. Some collectors omit the twelve minor leaguers (which are found only with Hassan or Polar Bear backs) due to their relative scarcity, but they are generally considered to be part of the base set.
Key T205 Gold Borders Baseball Cards:
1911 T205 GOLD BORDER Fred Beck VERY RARE Polar Bear BACK
1911 T205 Gold Border George G. Bell PSA VG-EX 4
Frank Baker HOF 1911 T205 Gold Border (Honest Long Back) - SGC 30
Zach Wheat HOF 1911 T205 Gold Border - SGC 30
T205 Gold Borders Baseball Card Checklist
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