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Walter Johnson (Portrait)

1909-1911 T206 White Border

This is, perhaps, the most popular issue to feature The Big Train. During the early part of the 20th Century, Walter Johnson’s dominance was staggering. With 417 total victories and a career ERA of 2.17, his numbers are remarkable. Johnson was the first of five men to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 1936 along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner. Wow! What a select group. While the Johnson Portrait is certainly more popular, the Hands at Chest variation is considered to be more difficult. This is due, in large part, to The Southern Find, which accounts for most of the high-grade Johnson Portraits that exist today.

Walter Perry Johnson

Born: November 6, 1887 - Humboldt, KS
Died: December 10, 1946 - Washington, D.C.
Batted: RH
Threw: RH
Position: P
MLB Pitching Record: 417–279
ERA: 2.17
Managerial Record: 529–432

Teams:
Washington Senators AL (1907–1927; manager: 1929–1932)
Cleveland Indians AL (manager: 1933–1935)

When it comes to the best of the best, look no further than “The Big Train.” In our opinion, Walter Johnson is the greatest pitcher that ever lived. The all-time leader in shutouts with 110, Johnson compiled 417 career wins as well as 3,509 career strikeouts. It’s hard to find a better pitcher. Although Cy Young had more wins, Johnson was more dominant. Johnson’s fastball was overpowering to begin with, and his sidearm motion made it even tougher for batters to pick up the ball.

Nicknamed “The Big Train” because of the amazing speed of his fastball, Johnson won at least 20 games 12 times. Today his single-season 1.14 earned-run average is the sixth lowest ever. Named American League MVP in 1913 and 1924, Johnson won the Triple Crown in 1913, 1918, and 1924. He led the league in strikeouts 12 times, shutouts 7 times, wins 6 times, ERA 5 times, and the list goes on and on. Interestingly enough, Johnson pitched on quite a few losing teams. Finally, in 1924 the Senators won the World Championship due, in large part, to Johnson’s pitching prowess.

One of the truly nice guys in the game, Walter Johnson was respected among his peers and admired by fans. During the rough and tumble early days of baseball, he stood out because of his modesty and dignity. Ty Cobb referred to Johnson as “the greatest of the great.” After his playing days were over, Johnson managed both Washington and Cleveland for several years. He went back to the Senators as broadcaster in 1939 and later made an unsuccessful run for Congress. Johnson always stayed close to the game he loved, even pitching in war bond exhibition games during World War II. He was recognized as part of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame in 1936. After suffering from a brain tumor for several months, Walter Johnson died in 1946 at age 59. “The Big Train” gets our vote as the Best of the Best. 

– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html

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

Condition Census

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

Prices By Grade

1909-11 T206 UNKNOWN BACK WALTER JOHNSON PORTRAIT

Grade Most Recent Price Average Price SMR Price Population POP Higher
GEM - MT 10
MINT 9 $110,000.00 3
NM - MT 8 $32,500.00 2 3
NM 7 $17,500.00 2 5
EX - MT 6 $4,733.82 $8,500.00 24 7
EX 5 $7,776.76 $7,776.76 $5,000.00 43 32
VG - EX 4 $6,766.00 $6,766.00 $2,500.00 65 76
VG 3 $2,721.22 $2,721.22 $1,200.00 68 144
GOOD 2 $1,375.00 $600.00 63 214
FR 1.5 280
PR 1 $925.00 $925.00 $300.00 32 280
Auth $339.88 3 315

Auction Prices Realized

Date Price Grade Lot # Auction House Auction/Seller Type Cert
05/31/2021 $7,777 5 402859837567 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 11205115
04/14/2021 $6,766 4 143996518341 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 06489257
08/12/2020 $2,721 3 353157289962 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 31249459
07/27/2020 $925 1 264806681970 eBay hodges-1955 Best Offer 30426764
05/11/2020 $5,040 5 55057 Heritage Auctions 2020 May 7 - 9 Spring Sports Collectibles Catalog Auction 12078357
03/07/2020 $800 1 283689568991 eBay goldandsilverbrokers Best Offer 30426764
01/14/2020 $6,278 5 402025023546 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 31281706
07/14/2019 $1,375 2 352709411536 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 30614715
04/20/2019 $2,880 4 51139 Heritage Auctions 2019 April 18 - 19 Spring Sports Card Catalog Auc Auction 03033906
06/27/2018 $340 Auth 372344803308 eBay jik444 Auction 04491095
06/08/2018 $2,295 4 332674145652 eBay maraya Buy It Now 07156163
05/09/2018 $1,880 4 401530015176 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 90369591
02/13/2018 $2,850 4 312048561649 eBay bounce Best Offer 90480419
11/05/2017 $2,659 5 464 SCP Auctions Fall Premier Auction 2017 Auction 31281706
10/08/2017 $3,384 5 401413397564 eBay pwcc_auctions Auction 40267064
06/29/2017 $1,920 4 80037 Heritage Auctions 2017 June 29 Premium Sportscard Catalog Auction - Auction 03033906
06/28/2017 $275 1 322567412988 eBay barrette380 Buy It Now 03716393
06/19/2017 $275 1 322552130050 eBay barrette380 Buy It Now 03716393
06/16/2017 $1,350 3 382127278967 eBay amerlegends Buy It Now 04443430
06/16/2017 $479 1 132221640728 eBay lukesvintagecards Buy It Now 31636441
11/19/2016 $777 3 50137 Heritage Auctions 2016 November 17 - 19 Sports Collectibles Catalo.. Auction 31322737
05/14/2014 $1,379 4 383 SCP Auctions Spring Premier Auction 2014 Auction 07156163
09/15/2013 $4,734 6 56 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons LI Auction 02318971
08/13/2013 $1,720 5 156 SCP Auctions Mid-Summer Classic Auction 2013 Auction 04025430
08/13/2013 $1,034 4 157 SCP Auctions Mid-Summer Classic Auction 2013 Auction 08038102
07/19/2009 $508 3 43010 Heritage Auctions Sunday Internet Sports Auction Jul 19, 2009 Auction 07001396
05/09/2009 $3,795 6 295 Goodwin and Co. Auctions Masterpieces and Uncommon Commons XXI Auction 50012878
01/08/2008 $1,776 5 98 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions January 2008 Internet Auction Auction 31281706
08/07/2007 $1,654 5 142 SCP Auctions SCP Auctions September 2007 Internet Auction Auction 12078357
05/28/2006 $1,016 4 12031 Heritage Auctions Amazing Sports Auction May 28, 2006 Auction 31560248
03/31/2006 $3,606 6 88 Memory Lane, Inc. Premier Collectibles Auction I Auction 02318971
11/17/2005 $2,548 5 65 Memory Lane, Inc. The Buried Treasure Card IV Auction Auction 90420073
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