The Find of a Century
About a month ago, a family in Providence, Rhode Island was having their family’s more than century old grand piano repaired and restored. When the servicemen arrived to inspect the unit, they unearthed an unbelievable, once-in-a-lifetime find—a short stack of 1909-1911 T206 tobacco cards, all in near mint condition. The family was astounded and quickly brought their newfound treasures to an appraiser at an auction house to see what they could fetch.
Among the prized finds were Deadball Era legends like Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, and a never before seen Gary Carter Rookie Card. Despite a little paper degradation on the edges, these pieces were in astonishing condition for their age. The appraiser especially couldn't believe the Carter card, as “the Kid” wasn’t even born until 1954.
The items were all autcioned off, with the Carter fetching the highest price—$1.2MM.
Ok, so you’re probably wondering how the heck Carter ended up on a 1910 baseball card 64 years before he played in his first major league game and 44 years before his mother even gave birth to him. No, there wasn't a great prognosticator who could see into the future working for the vintage cardmaker. It’s because this entire story is a farce. In reality, this amazing find is a one-of-a-kind novelty card created by an artistic genius named Jerry Andrews III (@sportking1 on Twitter).
While I'm not usually a fan of custom-made cards (except for my own, which you can see on this very site), this particular card caught my eye. The painstaking detail that Jerry puts into his cards is simply amazing. He literally takes an image of modern-era player and designs it to look just like the art and design of the early 1900s. He even creates back-of-card artwork mimicking the cards of that era. But what truly takes his cards to the next level is how he prints them on off-white card stock and then distresses them enough to create a vintage look and feel. Should you hold this card up next to an actual Lajoie, you'd think they were part of the same set.
According to Jerry, an avid sports fan, historian and graphic designer, his work hasn't gone unnoticed. Every Thursday for the past 9 years, he "releases" new cards and themed series in his eBay store, and his biggest fans go wild bidding against one another to try and collect his work. The first T206 Carter I bid on, I actually lost. Seeing how it was a one-of-one, I was a bit disappointed. Fortunately Jerry was gracious enough to make a different version of the card for me to have. After all, if his cards are truly all one-of-one, he can only make them one time, and then he has to "retire" them.
This morning I received the Carter card in the mail, and I was very impressed. The detail and quality of the card was better than some cards produced by the major card companies. Jerry has taken custom card making to a whole new level, and his work shows his craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. If you have a favorite player who didn't lace up the cleats around the turn of the century, I highly recommend checking out Jerry's store and picking something up. You will not be disappointed.
For more information about Jerry's work, check out sportentities.com.