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Autographed 1909-1911 T206 White Border Billy Sullivan

  • Sold For: $6,600
  • Year: 1909
  • Auction: 2016 spring
  • Lot #: 1218
  • Auction Category: Autographed Baseballs/Flats/Photos

Autographed T206 tobacco card of Chicago White Sox catcher Billy Sullivan, who was a key member of Chicago's famed American League Champion "Hitless Wonders" of 1906. Encapsulated by SGC Authentic and accompanied by a full LOA from JSA. Despite the fact that T206 White Border tobacco cards have been so popular and widely collected since 1909, signed examples are extremely rare. Few collectors had either the inclination or opportunity to get cards signed. Autograph collectors had many other options to get different types of items signed and rarely had cards at all, while card collectors were usually only interested in cards, and seldom sought autographs. If the opportunity to get an autograph arose, few fans happened to have a T206 card of the given player handy. To get a T206 card signed took planning or was accomplished with great effort by mail. The interest in autographed cards is relatively recent, and with the passing long ago of players from the 1910 era, every T206 card that is signed is unusual and noteworthy. Billy Sullivan lived until 1965 (he was eighty-nine when he died), so he was only available for just a short time to collectors who had the inclination, desire, and appreciation of the significance of autographed tobacco cards as the hobby matured through the 1960s and into the 1970s. The fact that Sullivan is not a Hall of Fame player, the signatures of whom were much more widely sought after by collectors, is another reason for its extreme rarity. While there may be others, this is the only example of a signed Billy Sullivan T206 card we have ever seen. Sullivan has signed the card, "W. J. Sullivan/'Billy'," in blue ink along the top border, with the signature grading "8." The card displays normal handling wear, including rounded corners and a moderate horizontal crease. In Good condition overall. Regardless of the condition, this is a tremendous prewar collectible that will be of great interest to card and autograph collectors alike and would make a worthy addition to even the most advanced T206 collection. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $300. Estimate (open).

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