1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball Cards
1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball is a small regional release that features minor league players largely based in the Carolinas. Technically the colorized part of the T209 line, the First Series cards are quite rare in comparison to their black-and-white Photo Series counterparts.
Firstly, the use of series in reference to the two Contentnea sets is something of a misnomer, since the two sets look nothing alike. In any case, the backs of the cards state that they are part of the "First Series" so the name has stuck among hobbyists. The cards are also known as T209-1 or Type I. View details on the second series here.
Named after a small creek that runs through North Carolina's tobacco country, Contentnea was a brand from Erwin-Nadal Tobacco Company. The cards in 1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball set are all from that area as well, featuring minor league players from the Carolina Association and Eastern Carolina League. Although the cards were issued in 1909 and 1910, the set is traditionally viewed as a 1910 release.
Each card in the 16-card set has a color lithograph of a player surrounded by a white border. The player's last name and the city of his team appear below the picture in blue ink. Slightly larger than other tobacco sets, 1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball cards are approximately 1-9/16" by 2-11/16".
A Contentnea advertisement is found on the back, with a notice at the top saying it is part of a first series featuring players from the leagues mentioned earlier. The 1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball card backs also make reference to the inclusion of Virginia League players, but this was not the case. As seen above, specific factory information was stamped onto the card backs after production, but it was lazily applied in many cases and over time many appear as nothing more than an ink smudge.
With only 16 cards, many collectors may assume it would be fairly simple to locate each card and piece together a set. However, it will immediately become clear that there are a few cards that are very difficult to locate. Sisson, Martin, Lane, Booles and Pope will likely require some help from other collectors. On the other hand, Crockett and Walsh are easily found in comparison and might lure would-be collectors into a false sense of assurance that the other 14 will be available as well.
Because they only list the last name and there is not a bio on the back, there is uncertainty regarding the specific players in the minor league set. Gilmore, McGeehan and Martin are all either shown with the wrong team logo or listed team.
Bourquise is more of a mystery because there is no player with that name (or anything similar) to play in the Carolina Association or Eastern Carolina League. Adding to the confusion, the Fulton team shown on the jersey is surprising because there was no team with that name in the entire minor leagues at the time, let alone in the Carolinas. Furthermore, the only Fulton team to that point was based in Fulton, New York and last active in 1907. Finally, although his jersey clearly states Fulton, the team name listed on Bourquise's card is Rocky Mount.
Key T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball Cards
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1910 T209 Contentnea First Series Baseball Set Checklist
John H. Cooper
John W. Crowell
Daniel Solomon David Crockett
Phifer "Fie" Fullenwider
J. J. Lane
P. L. Martin
Ashley F. Pope