Addie Joss (Pitching) - 1909-1911 T206 White Border

The 1909 to 1911 T206 baseball card set has long been considered one of the most, if not the most, important issues in the entire hobby. The visual appeal of the cards, the immense size of the set, and the incredible player selection make this treasure a collector favorite. Along with the 1933 Goudey and 1952 Topps sets, the classic T206 set is one of “The Big Three” in the world of baseball cards.

You can easily make the argument that “The Monster,” as it is commonly referred to, is truly the pinnacle of all trading cards sets. It is much larger than the 1933 Goudey set, requiring more than twice the amount of cards to complete. It is also arguably more visually appealing than the 1952 Topps set due to the superb artwork used in the design.

Furthermore, the 524-card T206 set is home to the most valuable trading card in the world, the card that has become the symbol of the hobby itself. Of course, I am referring to the Mona Lisa of trading cards . . . the T206 Honus Wagner. The Wagner card shares the limelight with 75 other cards featuring members of baseball’s Hall of Fame, but it is worth more than the other 523 cards combined, assuming they are in the same condition. At the time of this writing (2009), the highest price ever paid for any trading card was $2.8 million, a Wagner example that was graded NM-MT 8 by Professional Sports Authenticator, the leading third-party authentication and grading service.

The Wagner card is so desirable that even low-grade copies that receive only a Poor 1 on a scale of 1 to 10 (the lowest possible grade on the PSA grading scale) have fetched $400,000 at auction. The card, like the set itself, has taken on a life of its own and become an iconic collectible. While Wagner was a true legend of the game and one of the greatest shortstops in baseball history, the card depicting this Hall of Fame member has certainly surpassed the man himself in terms of fame.

Yes, the T206 set may be the most significant release in hobby history. Yes, Honus Wagner was one of the most significant players ever to put on a uniform. Yes, after being pulled from production early on by the manufacturer, only 50 or so examples of this card are known to exist, making it one of the true rarities in the trading card world. All of these facts may be true, but the reason why the T206 Wagner has reached such lofty heights in value is the story behind the man and the card.

The most prevalent misconception about this great card is that it is the rarest of the rare, resulting in its staggering value. What may come as a surprise to most casual collectors or even noncollectors is the fact that the T206 Wagner is not nearly as scarce as some other notable trading card rarities. The number of surviving copies is only part of the story.

There is more than one theory behind the rarity of the card, including a simple contract dispute theory. Many people believe Honus Wagner wanted his card pulled from production because Wagner, though an avid user of tobacco himself, did not want to promote tobacco to children since the cards were packaged with various brands of cigarettes. Knowing what we now know about the dangers of tobacco, especially as it relates to cigarettes, this stance taken by Wagner over 100 years ago becomes all the more interesting.

As with most other great collectibles, such as autographs, game-used equipment, and original photographs, the stories behind the items make them interesting and desirable. Every collectible, in its own way, is a conversation piece. How were these cards distributed? What makes this game-used bat special? Why did Babe Ruth sign this particular document? Every collectible has a story.

This is also true of every figure the collectible relates to, and that is what makes this particular book different from so many of the published hobby guides released over the years. If Honus Wagner were a relatively unknown player, would his T206 card carry the value it has today? No. If a Mickey Mantle game-used bat was instead used by Mickey Vernon, would it be worth anywhere near the same amount? No. Would a baseball signed by Jackie Robinson and one signed by Jackie Jensen be valued the same? No. I think you get the point.

Above all, it is the story behind the person that drives the majority of the value. Otherwise, it may be just a card or just a bat or just a ball. More often than not, it is the sports figure’s name that makes the collectible special. This book takes a look at each individual pictured on the cards, from superstars of the day like Ty Cobb and Cy Young to lesser-known major and minor leaguers like Clyde Engle and Bill Cranston. Each player has a story and each player contributed to the game . . . and all of them are part of the “monstrosity” known as the T206 set.

Today, we see virtually everything and know almost everything about current players, both on and off the field. In some cases, I would argue that we are presented with too much information, but this is the culture we live in today. With the immense sports coverage on television and the multitude of Internet sites devoted to sports, it seems as if the modern athlete cannot move a muscle without being caught on camera.

We do not have that luxury when it comes to learning about baseball players who were active during the early part of the 20th century. We often have to rely on period photographs and statistical information, at least whatever statistics can be found, in order to paint the picture of a time long past, to tell the story of the players who made history before history was documented on film after every pitch, every swing, and every catch.

That is what this book is all about, the story behind each man found in this legendary set, men who put on a uniform during a time when the equipment was a bit crude and the game wasn’t plagued by performance-enhancing-drug controversies. The game of baseball, no matter the era, is a terrific sport. Somehow, it is complicated yet simple at the same time. Its combatants must use almost equal combinations of brain and brawn in order to defeat their foes, perhaps more so than in any other sport.

Like the game of chess, every move has an impact on the outcome. For the astute fan, there are many games within the game that go unnoticed by the casual spectator, but it is all part of what makes baseball so interesting. The subtle communication between defenders as they position themselves before each hitter, the tension between a base runner trying to steal a base and the catcher trying to stop him, and managers trying to outthink each other on every play are all part of the complicated dance known as baseball. Complexity defines the sport, and that term may best describe the iconic T206 set.

- Joe Orlando: The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories

Adrian “Addie” Joss

Born: April 12, 1880 - Woodland, WI
Died: April 14, 1911 - Toledo, OH
Batted: RH
Threw: RH
Position: P
MLB Pitching Record: 160–97
ERA: 1.89

Cleveland Bronchos/Naps AL (1902–1910)

Had Addie Joss not died at such an early age, he would probably be considered part of the top tier of greatest pitchers, along with Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, and Cy Young. His 1.89 career ERA is the second-best record in major league history. His walks plus hits to innings pitched ratio (WHIP) is the greatest of all time. Joss had a great command of his fastball and changeup, and his pitching mechanics were very deceiving. His best season was 1908, when he went 24–11 with an unbelievable 1.16 ERA. His career was cut short when he contracted tubercular meningitis and died at 31. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978.

– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The T206 Collection: The Players and Their Stories

Click link to see a complete population breakdown by tobacco brand/back

Condition Census (Explain)

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MINT 9
2 NM-MT 8 (15)


Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
12/04/2003 $1,805 8 1483 Lelands December 2003 Auction 01079354
01/08/2008 $2,510 8 62 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions January 2008 Internet Auction Auction 06311221
01/01/2011 $4,113 8 226 Robert Edward Auctions 2011 Auction Auction 09075845
08/14/2014 $1,253 7 444 SCP Auctions Summer Premier Auction 2014 Auction 30607092
05/06/2018 $2,280 7 602 Robert Edward Auctions 2018 Spring Auction 30607092
10/04/2009 $598 6 41002 Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Sports Auction Oct 4, 2009 Auction 03638306
12/04/2016 $677 6 351913811161 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 02036444
05/12/2017 $650 6 382080630391 eBay tonyetrade Buy It Now 09036577
08/26/2017 $685 6 162646281149 eBay baseball*collectibles Best Offer 09036577
04/30/2006 $263 5 10004 Heritage Auctions Amazing Sports Auction Apr 30, 2006 Auction 31465182
12/15/2006 $457 5 99 Memory Lane, Inc. Holy Grail Auction Auction 12086135
10/05/2008 $263 5 41007 Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Sports Auction Oct 5, 2008 Auction 09108989
02/12/2011 $346 5 715 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXXI Auction 06420084
06/15/2012 $329 5 215 Lelands Spring 2012 Catalog Auction Auction 08022542
07/10/2015 $317 5 55 Mile High Card Company July 2015 Auction Auction 30727774
11/19/2016 $359 5 53433 Heritage Auctions 2016 November 17 - 19 Sports Collectibles Catalo... Nov 19, 2016 Auction 31465182
03/12/2017 $435 5 142299095849 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 12407655
08/27/2017 $446 5 172783320126 eBay cooperstownsportscards Buy It Now 11761110
12/29/2017 $400 5 273002533788 eBay ppgustafson Best Offer 12120766
01/25/2018 $431 5 162859326030 eBay nico01052001 Auction 31555127
05/09/2018 $402 5 401530015236 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 11761110
08/02/2009 $167 4 41018 Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Sports Auction Aug 2, 2009 Auction 07001543
12/02/2010 $174 4 286 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXX Auction 31650900
06/26/2011 $837 4 41025 Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Sports Collectibles Auction Jun 26, 2011 Auction 11906601
10/15/2014 $1,560 4 185 Robert Edward Auctions 2014 Fall Auction 11906601
11/05/2016 $178 4 352 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons LXVIII Auction 04091507
01/27/2017 $238 4 252733775464 eBay mysweetie1 Auction 50036250
05/06/2017 $179 4 252907576159 eBay kingpennycollectibles Auction 11836594
06/17/2018 $265 4 113063517014 eBay cyyoungcards Buy It Now 04490382
06/26/2005 $84 3 10012 Heritage Auctions Amazing Sports Auction Jun 26, 2005 Auction 90450562
06/17/2011 $562 3 434 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXXIII Auction 90287823
08/14/2014 $138 3 49 Love of the Game Auctions Set Builders Auction - Closes August 16, 2014 Auction 31416979
11/05/2016 $153 3 803 Goldin Auctions Summer Premium Live and Catalog Auction Auction 01685581
07/20/2017 $235 3 382171380882 eBay 1rams1 Best Offer 12031462
01/19/2018 $167 3 263431442490 eBay svcards Buy It Now 31344820
05/27/2018 $151 3 163057330999 eBay sportsgraffs Auction 30975021
11/18/2018 $145 2 173639439213 eBay cooperstownsportscards Auction 12139699
01/03/2017 $56 1 322371732801 eBay berset Auction 31573461
10/12/2017 $70 1 112585440760 eBay jerryglenn1 Buy It Now 90614313
02/26/2018 $91 1 253438080932 eBay mr.notmint Buy It Now 11491952