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Old 05-01-2016, 10:00 PM
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Default T207 - "basic backs" and general overiew.

This was intended to be the precursor to the "other backs" post, but that one was just more interesting. In any case, here's another one to get more information about T207 out into the general online community. Experienced collectors will recognize this as mostly primer material - it is summarized from the various "big books" on the set, online articles, content gleaned from threads, and personal experience.

T207 - overview, basic information and the common backs.

The T207 set is a distinct departure from its ATC brethren T206 and T205. Released in 1912, it follows the massive success of the T206 inserts from 1909-1911, and T205's from 1911. The differences between the various sets show up all over the place:
  • T207 is a dark, mostly monochromatic (earthy?) brown throughout the entire set. There's almost not a spot of yellow, green, orange or gold to be found. Colors in T207 are used sparingly, often being limited to the uniform and the face, with various shades of brown filling most every background. This lack of color (and some poor artwork) is likely a large contributor to its general lack of favor with many collectors.
     
  • Where the earlier releases are chock full of star players and HOF'ers, there's a distinct lack in T207, which has only a scattering of hall-of-famers (some very early in their career), a few minor stars, some future stars, and some retreads. A lot of everyday players, and the occasional odd man out - some that just stopped for a cup of coffee, and others that only made it close enough to smell the pine tar (so to speak). Missing are many of the major stars of the era, including Cobb, Wagner, Matty, Lajoie, etc...
     
  • The T207 set is limited to the 16 major league teams, including none of the minor leaguers. Both of it predecessors included at least some, with T206 clearly having a solid offering of minor leaguers throughout. Whether the imposed ATC breakup that year quashed further releases of T207 that might have included minor leaguers (or other star player cards) will likely never be known.
While these differences are substantial, there are a few similarities and extensions from the earlier sets that collectors are familiar with:
  • There are a number of advertising/manufacturer backs and factories, though not nearly as many as with either previous set. Recruit is by far the most populous, with Broadleaf and Cycle next most common backs. Other manufacturers include Napoleon and Red Cross, and there is a population of what are currently called "anonymous" backs, as they have no advertiser. Previously, these have also been called "Coupon" backs for a variety of reasons - primarily that a large chunk of theme came from the Louisiana area.
     
  • The biographies from T205 are continued into T207 and are consistent across the various advertising backs, though the statistics are limited to a description of the last year's performance within the bio text... usually as the last line. Tim Newcomb's articles in VCBC #'s 37 and 38 dig into the back text in some detail, showing clearly that the development of the cards continued well into the first part of the 1912 season.
     
  • Similar to the previous sets, it looks like there were at least a couple of different print runs, or at least an extended print run over which corrections were being made and further development was ongoing. While this is not as well established as T206 "print groups", there is clear evidence that they exist: from the three different versions of Livingston to the color, artwork, and quality variation across different groups of cards (all in addition to the back evidence above).
Finally, no review of T207 can be complete without mention of the artwork. It runs the gamut from abysmally ugly to hauntingly realistic. Better quality artwork is found on the more difficult cards within the set. The difference is striking enough - both in artwork quality and use of color - that it seems plausible that the cards were produced by different companies. Certainly, better artists were involved at some point in the process as the improvements are that dramatic.

Generally, collectors seem to either love or hate the set. Those that love it tend to be a bit obsessive, those that hate it cite many reasons - most already outlined above. Of the as-yet-unmentioned reasons for T207 dislike are a couple key items:
  • There is a lack of general information about the overall set - basic distributions, backs, etc...
  • The relative scarcity of T207 versus T206 or T205 is very noticeable. Estimates are that somewhere between 10 to 100 times more T206s exist than T207.
  • The quality of the cards that remain is generally of lower grade than many collectors like
Those items, combined with various other factors have led to historical prices for some cards to be far above what might be expected for players of such quality... Trying to complete a set where the last 10-30% can be tough to find (and pricey when they do appear) is a recipe for avoidance.

On the plus side, T207 is a set that's much easier to understand than it is to complete. The scoop:
  • There are 200 players represented and - outside of corrections - there's only one card of each player.
  • These cards are printed with one set of backs, or another ... roughly grouped into "classes".
    • 150 cards are found with Recruit (Factory 240 or 606) or Napoleon (Factory 240) backs. ("Recruit-class" cards).
    • 50 cards found only with Broadleaf, Cycle, or the Anonymous (Factories 3 AND 25) back. ("Broadleaf-class" cards).
    • There is no crossover between the two classes.
    • The only twist to this from the backs perspective is that there are a handful (~50) Recruit cards that are known with the Anonymous (Factory 3) back.
  • In all, there are 150 players + 5 variations in the Recruit class, and 50 players + 1 variation in the Broadleaf class cards... for 206 cards in the master set.
  • All 50 Broadleaf-class cards are known with all 4 possible backs.
  • All Recruit cards are known with both factory backs.
  • Napoleons are not completely confirmed but are believed to be found on all Recruit-class cards.
That's it, and - other than learning which cards are tougher in their respective classes, you have the gist of T207. That said, like the other ATC sets, there are a tons of subtleties in the set that lead to interesting levels of difficulties, creative ways to collect them, and/or interesting theories on how they may have been produced and/or distributed.

The previously posted 'The "other" T207 backs' thread has more of those details, and is actually the follow-on to this post, even though it was posted in advance.

Thanks for reading this far - appreciate the comments and feedback from the previous post.

To come:
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T207 Napoleon HOF subset - in-progress .
T207 Magic Numbers: 18/5/38/1/1
T207's - Sale/Trade

Last edited by frohme; 10-27-2018 at 11:46 AM. Reason: fix, add links
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:30 PM
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Thanks a million for this, Mike. Please keep such info coming. I will read it in more depth when I have time tomorrow evening.

Last edited by vintagebaseballcardguy; 05-01-2016 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:15 PM
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Definitely interested in the confirmations on Naploeon backs.
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmac32 View Post
Definitely interested in the confirmations on Naploeon backs.
me too

Last edited by Luke; 05-02-2016 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 05-03-2016, 07:56 PM
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Great overview. Thanks for posting it and sharing, Mike.
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