1909 T204 Ramly Baseball Cards
Considered by some hobbyists to be one of the more elaborate and distinctive card sets of the early-20th century, 1909 T204 Ramly Baseball cards are clearly a relic of the Gilded Age that produced them. In that respect, it is one set from the pre-World War I era that definitely looks the part.
Ramly was the name of a cigarette brand that has an interesting story. During the period where Turkish tobacco was becoming big, one of the many popular Arabian brand names was Ramleh, which was a big seller. The Mentor Company of Boston, Massachusetts introduced a new brand called Ramly to capitalize on that. As a result, the company that made Ramleh cigarettes had to reverse the order of the letters to Helmar due to their impacted sales.
1909 T204 Ramly Baseball card fronts showcase a player portrait in an oval frame. The card itself measures 2" x 2-1/2". One main feature is an elaborate gold embossed design that really makes the card stand out. The player's name, team name and position appear below the picture. Card backs contain cigarette brand advertising.
While it is most commonly associated with T204 cards, Ramly was not the only cigarette brand that included the ornate cards in their packages. T.T.T., another brand from Mentor Company, featured 1909 T204 Ramly Baseball cards as well. However, the TTT back advertisement is quite scarce and was only extended to a portion of the checklist.
There are 121 cards in the 1909 T204 Ramly Baseball card set, and six cards, inclduing John Anderson, Frank Bancroft, William Bransfield, Jesse Burkett, William Dineen and Pat Moran, can also be found with square frames. Those variations are incredibly tough to find and feature blank backs.
Without question, Walter Johnson is the key card in the set and the T204 release is considered by many to be the home of his true rookie card. While there are other Hall of Fame players included, the checklist is the one area where 1909 T204 Ramly Baseball appears to come up short. Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Sam Crawford are just a few of the notable omissions and part of the reason that the set is not viewed in higher regard across the hobby.
Key T204 Ramly Baseball Cards
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1909 T204 Ramly Baseball Set Checklist
Base Set Checklist
Frank C. Bancroft
Jesse C. Burkett
Wm. H. Dinneen
Wild Bill Donovan
Wee Willie Keeler
P. J. Moran
T. H. Murnane