The T206 Eddie Plank is the third most valuable baseball card in the hobby. It ranks behind only the 1933 Goudey Lajoie and the T206 Wagner. It seems that most of the rarities in the hobby have a story to explain the card's scarcity. The T206 Plank is no exception.
It has always been theorized that the printing plate for the Plank card was somehow broken and damaged while the card was in its early production, thus creating its scarcity. I am not sure where this story originated, but it does not seem to be accurate. Most people know that T206 cards were issued in three different series. These series are known as the 150 series, the 350 series and the 460 series. These series were issued between 1909 and 1911 with the 150 series being issued first, the 350 series second and the 460 series last
The Plank card is most commonly found with a 150 series back, but it also comes with a 350 back. This would mean that the Plank printing plate would have had to last throughout the 150 series printing and at least into the beginning of the 350 series. Therefore, it is doubtful that the scarcity of the Plank is due to the plate being broke some time during the 350 series printing. This would mean that the Plank card would be as common as any other 150 series card and this is obviously not true.
We are then only left to guess as to why the card is so scarce. It is interesting to note that Plank is not pictured in the T201, T202, T205 or T207 sets from the same era. Maybe he was opposed to endorsing tobacco, as many people say Honus Wagner was. One is only left to guess. Hopefully one day the mystery behind the scarcity of this card will come to light. Eddie Plank's pitching capabilities are often times overlooked in our hobby because of the legend of his T206 card. Plank was one of the most dominant pitchers of his time and is a first rate Hall of Famer. He won 327 games in this career while only losing 193 for a remarkable winning percentage of .629. He pitched for the Athletics in four different World Series and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946. Not only do owners of a T206 Plank have an incredibly rare card; they also have a card of a top notch Hall of Famer.
Most guess that there are about 100 Plank cards in existence. The majority of these cards range from Poor to Very Good condition. High-grade examples rarely come into the market. While a T206 Plank in good condition is quite a prize, solid Excellent or better example is a true rarity.
The T206 Plank appeals to a variety of collectors. There are numerous T206 set collectors that only dream of adding the card to their collection. Hall of Fame collectors would love to add this specific Plank card to their collection. It is also at the top of any collector's list that is seeking our hobby's ultra rarities. The Plank is a super card. Not only is the card a rarity from the popular T206 set, but it pictures one of the greatest left-handed pitchers ever to play the game.